Monday, February 22, 2016

2/10 OISS Digest

February 10, 2016
Office of International Students and Scholars
Weekly Digest




STEM OPT allows students in designated Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math degrees to extend their 12 months of Optional Practical Training for an additional 17 months, for a total of 29 months of OPT.

STEM OPT is currently under legal review, but this review has been extended to May 10, 2016. For now, There are no changes to STEM OPT.

In the meantime, interested and eligible students are encouraged to apply for a STEM extension now.

To apply, your degree must be on the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program Listand you must be within 120 days of your current OPT end date. For the STEM OPT application and instructions, click HERE

OISS will continue to monitor developments related to STEM OPT and send updates to you when they are available.

Also, remember to report your employment. For more information on when you are required to report information and what information to report, click HERE.

If you have any questions, email

Be Featured in the Digest

Do you want to be featured in our Weekly Digest? Do you want to share your experiences at Tulane? Then sign up to be our Person of the Week!

The OISS is looking for individuals to feature in our Digest every week. We would love to share more about you and your experiences to our international community!

Please contact our student worker, Karen Chen, at if interested.

         Chinese New Year        

“Gong Xi Fa Cai”
(Happy New Year!)

February 8 started the celebration of Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival.  2016 is the year of the “Monkey” according to the Chinese animal zodiac cycle.

A common tradition is the New Year's Eve dinner, known as the Reunion Dinner, and is believed to be the most important meal of the year. 

Also, during this time, red envelopes with cash are presented to family members.  The “red” symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits.

Finally, fish and dumplings are eaten during the festival because of the belief it will bring a surplus of money and good luck in the coming year. 


Kristy Magner
OISS Director

Belinda Schneider
F-1 Students

Beth Nazar
J-1 Students

Nancy Lauland
H-1B and J-1
Faculty, Researchers & Staff

Evan Kirk
SEVIS Coordinator

  Kabir Hingorani Punjabi
Operations Assistant

Ongoing Weekly Events

Uptown hours

Location:  6901 Willow Street
Time:  Monday- Friday 8:30 a.m.- 5:00p.m.

For general information, check-in, document drop off/pick up,andletter requests,come visit us. If you would like to meet with and advisor, please schedule an appointment.

Downtown hours

Location:  Tidewater Building, Room 2460
Time:  Tuesdays, 1:00- 4:00 p.m.

Downtown hours are an opportunity for international students, scholars, and staff at Tulane’s downtown campus to meet with an OISS advisor, ask questions, and request services. If you are a new international student at the downtown campus, you can also complete your required check-in process during downtown hours.

Coffee Hours

Location: Greenbaum Lounge (Bldg # 71, Uptown)
Time:  Thursdays, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Theme: Chinese New Year

Uptown coffee hours will be held weekly, with a different theme each week!

Prayer Space (Downtown)

Location: Tidewater Room 1506
Time: Open when building is open

Tidewater Building, 15th Floor, Room 1506 has been dedicated as a quiet prayer space for students of all religious denominations.
Check the digest weekly for more updates about times and locations.



Chinese New Year Coffee Hour Tomorrow!

Join students, scholars, and the OISS at our Chinese New Year Coffee Hour tomorrow! Meet other international students, get to know the OISS staff, and celebrate this rich cultural tradition with some Chinese treats and other surprises!

When: Thursday, February 11, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Where: Greenbaum Lounge (Bldg #71, Uptown)

 Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT is a benefit available to all students who have been in F-1 status for at least one academic year. OPT allows you to work in your field of study for up to 12 months (29 months for certain STEM fields). 

Downtown: February 16  1440 Canal Street, Room 1206, 12:00- 1:00 p.m. Lunch Provided.
Uptown: February 17  GWH1 101(Bldg #39, Uptown). 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Access the OPT instructions and forms here:   Beginning February 18, you may submit your complete OPT application packet at OISS each week at any of the following drop-in times:  

Monday 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.  
Wednesday 8:30- 9:30 a.m.   
Friday 2:30- 3:30 p.m.

International Tax Office Workshops

WFMO’s International Tax Office (ITO) will be having various nonresident alien Tax Workshops to discuss basic U.S. tax responsibilities.  We highly encourage all international students and scholars to attend as they will explain the process involved in the preparation of your U.S. tax return to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and answer any questions you might have.

Uptown Campus Workshops
Tuesday, February 23: 2:00 – 4:00 P.M. at LBC Room 201 (Race)
Tuesday, March 15: 2:00 – 4:00 P.M. at LBC Room 201 (Race)

Downtown Campus Workshop
Tuesday, March 1: 2:00 – 4:00 P.M. at Tidewater, Room 2414


PORceiros: Portuguese/English Language Practice
Olá, todos! Hope you are all fully in the swing of the Spring semester. We are continuing our PORceiros program for students and community members who want to practice English or Portuguese. Think of this as a private tutoring experience in your target language! We will pair native speakers of Portuguese and English that want to practice each other’s language in an informal setting. Partners could meet up separately at a time/in a place that is convenient for both parties, and could speak for ~30min Portuguese, then ~30min English. The difference an hour a week will make in your language proficiency and confidence is *amazing*! 

Sign up on this google sheet and we will follow up with you to make sure you've been able to find a partner. 

Questions? Email Megwen at for more information.  

One Wave Student Leadership Trainings
Saturday, February 27 or April 2. 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Learn how you can contribute to a safer Tulane by attending a One Wave bystander intervention student leadership training. Make an impact in your community. Register HERE.

Tulane SPHTM presents Informational Webinars
Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine will be hosting the following webinars about the opportunities as a student at Tulane University SPHTM. These webinars include the following topics:

·         Sexuality, Health and Gender
·         Healthcare Management
·         Tulane African Student Association   
·         Health Systems of China
·         SALUD for Latin American Communities
·         Life of a SPHTM Student

For dates and more information, CLICK HERE.

International Food & Music Festival
The annual International Food & Music Festival is coming up. We are looking for individuals or groups interested in performing, cooking, participating in a fashion show, setting up cultural information booths, and volunteering. If you are interested in participating, please click HERE.
Non-Credit English Classes for International Students
This spring, CGE is offering non-credit and flexible American Academic English classes that offer opportunities for developing and practicing listening, speaking, reading and writing skills with other students in a relaxed conversational atmosphere that includes brief presentations. During this time, you will be encouraged to develop a personal English plan. By participating, you will also be given preferential access to one-on-one conversation partners, individualized writing instruction, and other specialized programs, such as intensive night classes and grammar classes.

It is all free to Tulane students and scholars. If you are interested, the classes are available at both the uptown and downtown Tulane campuses. You can attend one class a week, depending on your schedule, or more classes with the instructor’s permission. Please contact to enroll or if you have any further questionsClick HERE for more information.

Newcomb College Institute Internship Information Sessions
Newcomb College Institute aims to connect undergraduate women to a wide range of experiential learning opportunities that focus on women of gender. Our Summer Internship Program offers competitive grants of up to $2,000 to support undergraduate women in internship positions that focus on women of gender. Please attend one of the following information sessions at the NCI House, 7025 Freret St to learn more about these internship funding opportunities. Please email Betsy Lopez with any questions or to set up and alternative meeting time

·         Monday, February 22, 4PM
·         Monday, February 29, 4PM
·         Thursday, March 10, 4PM
·         Wednesday, March 16, 4PM


Tulane Film & Arts Festival
Thursday, February 11 through Saturday, February 13. 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. GWH, Freeman Auditorium.
The 2016 Tulane University Film and Arts Festival is an annual festival that  celebrates the story. Through presentations of film, art, and food, TUFAF hopes to demonstrate just how powerful a good story can be. The festival is free for all attendees! It will feature a collection of feature length films and short films, and will take place over three days. Refreshments and food catered by local vendors will be provided.

Louisiana Sexual Assault Student Activist Conference
Saturday, February 13 through Sunday, February 14. LBC.
The Newcomb College Institute is excited to announce a conference planned by students, for students, to address sexual assault on college campuses. The inaugural conference will include panel discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities for sexual assault activists from across Louisiana. Registration is free and open to anyone interested in combatting sexual assault on college campuses. The conference will include a keynote address by Laura Dunn, the founder of SurvJustice. For more information, please visits[]

Tulane Greenwave Basketball
Men’s Basketball vs. Memphis
Saturday, February 13. 1:00 p.m. Devlin Fieldhouse. Free t-shirt giveaway.

Women’s Basketball vs. SMU.
Sunday, February 14. 2:00 p.m. Devlin Fieldhouse. Free tumbler giveaway.

Please visit for information on how to claim your tickets, as well as a step-by-step process and FAQ.

Under Our Skin Lecture ft. New Orleans Saints’ Ben Watson
Monday, February 15. 8:00 p.m. LBC Qatar Ballroom.
Ben Watson plays for the New Orleans Saints and has recently written a book about racism in America after his response on Facebook to the events in Ferguson, MO last year went viral. He will be presenting some of the thoughts and reflections from his book. He will discuss personal experiences, social commentary, and how his Christian faith affects his understanding of those realities.

Conversations in Color: A free cultural, educational series
Tuesday, February 16. 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. LBC Kendall Cram.
The Amistad Research Center invites you to Conversations in Color. This inaugural event will feature Trans-advocate and MSNBC So Popular talk show host Janet Mock on stage for an intimate discussion about sexuality and identity in literature with Alexis de Veaux, 2015 Lambda Literary Best Lesbian Fiction award winter. Together they will explore the representation of sexuality and identity in their literary works. Admission is free but tickets are required. Tickets are available HERE.

Trials and Triumphs
Wednesday, February 24. 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. LBC 212.
This event features professors Peter Ricchiuti, Michael Cunningham, Latha Rajan, Rebecca Mark, and Michael Cohen. They are going to share their personal experiences of defeat, failure, and setbacks amongst their accomplishments. We are hoping this will be an empowering message for students about taking risks, stepping out of their comfort zones, and finding community support to learn from mistakes and succeed. For more information, email Krista Casale
Black Arts Festival
Saturday, February 27 – Sunday, March 13. Various times and locations.
Each year, the Tulane Black Student Union hosts the Black Arts Festival on campus. In past years, the Festival has taken various forms ranging from a weeklong lecture series to a singular day of events. Last year the program saw 2000 attendees over the course of two weeks which featured lectures, workshops, showcases, and a variety of other events to provide comprehensive programming to students and the community. For more information, click here.

News and Other Announcements

News Article and Interesting Reads

Mental Health and Mindfulness Resources

Explore resources for mental well-being now:

Mission Statement
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The mission of the Office of International Students and Scholars is to provide leadership in the internationalization of Tulane University by supporting the Tulane international community and facilitating cross-cultural interaction. By way of support, OISS offers quality programs and services and ensures compliance with federal immigration regulations. 
Our strong belief is that a vibrant international community enriches Tulane University and the New Orleans community and is an essential component to understanding our role within the global community.

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Weekly Fact: Gorillas burp when they’re happy.

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