The UW is home to nearly 8,000 enrolled international students from all over the world with an almost-even split of undergraduate and graduate students. From pre-arrival through graduation and beyond, our international student population is supported by two offices on campus: the Center for International Relations & Cultural Leadership Exchange (CIRCLE) and International Student Services (ISS).
We asked CIRCLE and ISS a few questions to understand how international students can best receive support from both offices.
How does your office support international students?
CIRCLE supports undergraduate and graduate students through our three pillars of engagement, support, and advocacy. CIRCLE strives to help students navigate the UW and develop heuristic skills to solve problems.
ISS provides immigration advising for F and J visa holders at UW. This includes both current students and alumni who may be on OPT or Academic Training. We also process immigration-related benefits related to employment, enrollment, and more!
When would I go to your office?
You can come to CIRCLE if you have any question(s) or issue that is affecting you as a UW student such as housing, health insurance and more. For graduate students, CIRCLE offers opportunities to help you navigate academic culture in the U.S. and explore potential professional career paths. You can also come to CIRCLE to participate and enjoy events we host. CIRCLE will help you with issues or connect you with the best office to help you if it is an issue that another UW office is better equipped to help you.
Whenever you have any questions or concerns related to your immigration status, ISS is here for you. Questions we receive are related to F-1 and J-1 visas. Some examples include traveling internationally with an F or J visa, employment as it relates to your immigration status, or how enrollment might impact legal immigration status. Just as you have academic advisors who advise on academic-related questions, we advise on F-1 and J-1 immigration related topics.
What is the best way to contact or get involved with your office?
From Monday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (excluding university holidays & breaks), the way would be to either stop by our office in Schmitz Hall 250 or call us at 206.685.4004. Outside of the office hours, you can email email@example.com or send a message to our Instagram account @uwcircle.
There are a few ways to get in touch with us. The biggest resource available for students is our website. We have a lot of helpful information, including some informational video series, on our website that can answer a lot of student questions. We also host regular information sessions for topics like CPT and OPT. For additional support, students are encouraged to reach out to us by filling out the contact form on our website, or to stop by for one of our drop-in advising sessions with an advisor. We have advising sessions every day, Monday through Thursday.
Anything else I should know about your office?
In addition to our programs and events, students can get involved with CIRCLE through opportunities to work or volunteer with us and through the CIRCLE Student Advisory Board (SAB).
There are many cases where UW policy and immigration policy doesn’t align, and we know that can be very frustrating for international students. Our goal is to make understanding your immigration requirements as simple as possible, so that you are able to achieve your academic and professional goals while maintaining your immigration status.