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Mississippi river is starting to freeze. "Single digit" is becoming normal temperature.
Minneapolis is ranked 16th in America's 25 Coldest Cities.

But if you are a true "Minnesotan," you will still enjoy your venti Frappuccino® outside!
Soon, it will get even colder.


Winter Break and Important Things to Know
As the winter break is approaching, I would like to talk something important for international students to know. These are essential for international students who are leaving the U.S. over the winter break, as well as any breaks.

-Passport
Always, always, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months in the future. If your passport expiration date is coming closer, you may need to contact the embassy of your country. I have renewed my passport in the U.S., but it was not very difficult.


-F-1/J-1 Visa
Since I am a full time student, I can only talk about F-1 Visa, but ISSS can always provide you necessary and detailed information.
You must carry your passport that has a F-1/J-1 visa stamp. This means that if you have renewed your passport after getting one of the visa stamps, you must have the old passport with the stamp as well as your new passport. If you leave the U.S. without F-1 visa, you must pay a fine when you come back, and this record will be filed in the U.S. database.

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-I-94 Card
Remember the long white card on the left that you filled in on airplane or at the airport? This is the I-94 card. An inspector will tear the card into two and staple the tiny part on your passport. You must keep this card until it is collected by a border agent when you leave the U.S. I-94 and I-20 are necessary documents to maintain your F-1 visa status. If you lose this, you have to apply for replacement in the nearest Immigration Services and pay $330 for replacement. Also, it takes couple of weeks to get a new one.


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-Form I-20
The last piece of the important legal documents is I-20, which is issued by the university. You need to make sure that you have a valid travel signature from ISSS on your I-20. If you lost or damaged your I-20 form, you need to request ISSS to obtain a new I-20. If you change your major or extending graduation dates, you also need to go to ISSS to issue a new form or apply for extension. If you notice that you don't have your I-20 in your country, keep in mind that it takes time for ISSS to send you a new one.

Wow, that was a serious, unrelaxing topic. I hope I didn't scare you too much. Keep all of your legal documents in one safe place, and carry a copy of your passport in the Twin Cities.

This is my last entry for this year. This is a bit early, but I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!! I will see you next year:)
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Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Hi everyone!
Do you know what day it is today?
In the U.S., today, November 24th, is Thanksgiving Day.
You may know, but Thanksgiving is America's traditional holiday.
Usually, family members get together and enjoy feast together.
The main dish of Thanksgiving feast is, of course, turkey!!

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I stayed in my friend's house on my first Thanksgiving and helped cooking, but it took us almost entire day to roast a turkey.


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We prepared lots of food and kept eating. Then, we watched movies on TV. Yes, this day is not to be very productive...

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On Thanksgiving, shops and restaurants are closed, so you just stay at home and spend time with your friends and family. They might discuss a plan for Black Friday (This is a big sale day in malls and stores.)
I hope you got an idea of Thanksgiving in the U.S.!

Hi everyone:) I want share some of my experiences to show what kind of troubles you can get in because I want you to know what can happen if you are reckless and don't want you guys to get screwed up.

I DO HAVE MONEY. I JUST CAN'T PAY.
When I transferred to the U, the only bank account that I had was a saving account of a local bank near my previous school. I started living in an apartment but soon realized that I did not have a check book to pay for my rent. I used to live in dorm, so I never needed to write a check before. I opened a new checking account and had the bank send me check books immediately. Until they arrive, I had to go to Cub Foods every month to make money orders because my apartment doesn't accept cash. I am from a country that doesn't use check, so I was totally underestimating the importance of checks. I think you will do, but opening saving and checking accounts as soon as you arrive at the U.S. is important even if you don't use them right away.


NO BUS ON WEEKENDS & TAXI DRIVER DOESN'T KNOW WHERE TO GO

When I was living in St. Paul, I never went to campus on weekends, so I didn't notice that my bus didn't run on weekends. During final week, I had my final on Saturday on St. Paul campus. The other bus routes would take 2 hours, so it happened to use taxi. You may think that all the taxi drivers know everything about the area, but mine was not. Very interestingly, my taxi driver did not know where the St. Paul campus of the U, and he took me to a different school... Miraculously, we made it to the St. Paul campus, and I was about 10 minutes late for my final exam. If you live off-campus, please secure the ways to get to campus. It is very possible that you take your final on Saturday, and you do not want to get extra stress from transportation.


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AM I GOING TO GET BACK SAFE??
Sometimes you might have extremely busy days. I used to stay in library everyday with thick black coffee as company until date changes. Good or not, study places in some libraries are open until 3AM or 24 hours even. I was staying in Bio-Medical library until 3, and walked back to my apartment on West bank. In fact, I didn't get in any trouble this day, but I found that there were some crime alerts near my apartment. I do not stay this late anymore, but if you are a night owl and stay on campus late, you may want to request campus escort service when you go home.

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Maybe you are smart enough to avoid these situations, but if you are new in the U.S., you will experience some difficulties or problems that only international students do. I exposed some of my foolish experiences, but I hope you won't get into troubles!

Research - Time to Let Your Passion Speak

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Please imagine yourself,

You just had a fateful encounter with a discipline that you want to spend your four years for. You are so engaged in this area of study that it is so exciting to find news articles about it, and you cannot stop spending leisure thinking and talking with your classmates about the related subjects. When it comes to class projects, you devote yourself and spend extra effort on those. You almost want to marry your major, but you know it's legally, physically and ethically, impossible. Too bad...

The way I decided my major was not this dramatic, but one thing I recommend you is to express your love for what you study through research.

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Independent Study
One possibility is to take a credit for research. This is called independent (or directed) study. You need to find a professor who agrees to let you work in his/her research. You earn one credit for this and write a research paper based on your hypothesis and findings.


Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP)
The name looks self-explanatory, but UROP is an one-semester-long program that provides you salary and opportunities to explore your interest and present your research project.

Below is how you can apply for UROP.

If you are already in a lab
If you are already working or volunteering in a lab, there is nothing to hesitate. Go to your professor to discuss the possibility of making a project for UROP.

If you do not belong to a lab
I was in this situation. You need to find somebody who will like you enough to let you be a part of his/her research, and this will be the hardest part even before you apply for UROP.
You might talk to your professors that you take classes with. When I joined the UROP, I talked to my professor and asked if there was an on-going or new research project and possibility to take a small fraction for UROP.

Now you can start application process!

Application Process
~research proposal~
Whether you know about how to research or not, UROP office wants you to write a short research proposal in which you explain what you want to find through research, how you will find, what you expect to find, and why your research is so important that the UROP wants to pay for it.

~Other application materials~
Then, you need to submit your personal information and how much you will spend and how you use a semester to finish your project.

~After applying~
Be patient. It will take about 8-10 weeks to hear back. When you almost forget about the fact that you applied, you will receive an e-mail from them.


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If you are accepted, congratulations! Now you will do whatever you dreamt to do, make a poster to show off what you did, and speak in public at the end of a semester. This final symposium usually takes place in Grate Hall in Coffman Memorial Union where you will see the rest of the UROP participants from all the colleges.


During research, you will find tons of things that you cannot learn in class. It is the front line of any disciplines and a place you will find people who are so much into the area of study like you. If you are so much driven to discover, I am sure you will have a great experience☺

I am delighted to write about my college today, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS). I hope this lengthy name didn't overwhelm you.


The season for Farmers Market is over, but you can still get fresh local products. Two departments at CFANS open dairy and meat sales every week in Andrew Boss Laboratory-Meat Science building on St. Paul campus.

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As a Nutrition student, I really want you to visit our Dairy Salesroom! The room is run by the Department of Food Science and Nutrition. There are wide selection of cheese. They are all frech, rich and creamy. Also, you will be impressed by the various flavors of ice cream. (Gopher Gold is my favorite. I want to try Pumpkin Pie, but they run out so quickly...)
All the products are made at University of Minnesota by students, faculty and staff. They announce special items of the week on the website, too.

Dairy Salesroom
Open: Wednesday, 3-5pm
Location: Room 166 Andrew Boss Lab of Meat Science (ABLMS)
*they only take CASH.


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After you pick up items from the Dairy Salesroom, you can also stop at the Meat Lab Sales Room in the same building. They also open on Wednesday, but you can contact them to order and arrange days and time. The Department of Animal Science produces beef, pork, lamb, poultry, veal, sausage and a lot more. You do not need to go to a meat product section in a grocery store because you can find a whole variety of meat here on campus. I have made a lamb skewers, which tasted wonderful. They also provide recipes to give some ideas for your dinner!


Meat Lab Sales Room
Open: Wednesday, 2-5pm (or contact for other days/hours)
Location: Room 26 Andrew Boss Lab of Meat Science (ABLMS)


Many people graduate without knowing much about St. Paul campus, but you should come to try the University of Minnesota original foods! You can just hop on a campus connector from Minneapolis, and you will arrive in 25 minutes. I hope these sales become reasons to come to St. Paul:)

Choosing a living place is a great great deal.
Before I started my college life at the U in Spring, I had been told that there were no dorm rooms left. Then, I lived off-campus and commuted a long way to the campuses - taking two buses for one hour to get to the campus. Yes, I was so excited to move out!

I want to talk about off-campus housing here since it is difficulty for people who live far away from the Twin Cities, and of course outside the U.S., to find living places outside the campus. Please keep in mind that this information is just a few of many ways to find living places, but I hope this will give you some ideas.

How to search?

1. Go to "The Housing and Residential Life" Website
One their website, there is a page which explains off-campus housing.
I think that this page gives you ideas about how much you should expect to pay for rent, some criteria for choosing, temporary housing, etc.
They also have a section where you can search for off-campus housing.


2. Check "Craigslist"
Craigslist is another good place to look at. Craigslist is also very useful for finding good deals on furniture or other necessities.


3. Visit actual locations
Often there are flyers posted on the bulletin board of apartments. People sometimes look for somebody to take over their place or roommates in this way. If you have specific places in mind, it is a good idea to go and check if there are anyone looking for roommates or subleases. Always make sure to meet a person who posted the flyer and check a room.


Also, followings are some points to look at when you search for housing!


Points to check before deciding!

These are a few of many points to ask yourself when searching for housing:
- Is it close or easy to get to the campuses?
- Do campus connectors (free bus that connect all the campuses) stop nearby?
- Are bus stops close?
- Is it close to grocery shops?
- Is the place safe?
- Is your roommate/s reliable and/or have similar living patterns?
- Does the rent include parking (if you have a car)? If not, how close is the nearby parking ramp and how much?
- Is the room furnished? (If not, you have to buy or find furniture)
- What is the duration of the contract? Check the ending date!


Must-do when you move in!!
- Check for any items, amenities or facilities and get them repaired before moving in!
- Take pictures with date for records!
- Document repair requests if necessary!

These look overreactive, but there are cases that students are charged a huge amount of money when they move out even though they are not their fault. Remember that renting a place involves legal issues. It is important to keep records of your room at the beginning to prevent yourself from any unexpected charges.


Thank you so much for reading this looong post!
Just to remind you that these are just examples. There are many ways to find a living place, so keep your eyes open!


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Good luck on finding a best place for you and please feel free to ask me questions!!
I will see you later~

Hi Everyone!

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Hi all!
My name is Megumi Kuyama. I came from Japan to study Nutrition at College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. This is my senior year, and I spend most of my day on St. Paul campus:)

I transferred to the University of Minnesota in January 2009. My previous school had only 5000 students, so I was surprised by the size of this school, but I like this campus a lot now.

I am excited to share my life at the U and looking forward to getting to know you all!! Please feel free to ask me questions about college life, Nutrition, Japanese restaurants nearby, or anything!!

I know the school is getting busy and the weather is steadily getting colder, but I hope the semester is off to a great start for all of you:)

See you soon!