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Welcome Spring Break!

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Hi all!
The spring break finally has begun, and I am here in Niles, Illinois.
I finished my last midterm on Thursday night, and on very early morning of Friday I took a greyhound bus to come down here. I have been feeling not so good, so this time I came to enjoy Korea's hot sauna & spa.

I know everybody has been waiting to have a spring break, and I also know that once your exams are all taken care of you all want to just have fun until the spring break is over.
I, here, too wanted to just enjoy spring break as it comes naturally. Actually this semester has been so stressful, all I wanted during spring break was sleeping and do nothing.
However, soon I realized how spring break is important to students like me.

1. During spring break you can catch up what you've missed during semester.
2. You can still work (International undergraduate students can only work up to 20 hours per week, but during spring break you can work up to 40 hours per week depends on where you work), and save money for future!
3. If you do not have to catch up study (lucky you!), you can start preparing exams. Some of the exams and projects are due right after spring break is over.
4. You can use this valuable time to do some great volunteer!

Other than what I already wrote, I am sure there are millions of things you can do in order to use the time wisely. I am not saying don't take a break during spring break, but find your own balance so after break you won't feel overwhelmed. And break is quite long to just sleep and party. Use your time wisely, then you will appreciate spring break even more.

Hope everybody enjoys break and talk to later.

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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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My very special winter vacation trip to NY :-)

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Hi! I am back!
Did everyone have wonderful Thanksgiving day with their families and friends?
I hope so. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and it was great to spend a day with my close friends. I made several new friends too.

I realized one of our ISA members, Ricardo, introduced campus jobs topic to everyone. I think Ricardo did fantastic jobs, so I won't be writing more about it, but I thought the links I will going to share are very useful to future and current students.
Here are some quick links if you are looking specific jobs under certain locations.
1. Student unions and activities
2. Recreational center
3. UDS (dining center)
4. Library

Today, I am here to write about my own winter trip to NY in last year.
It was very special to me because it was the first time to travel by myself.
I went to NY by bus because I thought it would be cool and I wanted to save some money. I got bus tickets from greyhound (you can also buy bus tickets from several other websites such as: megabus, jefferson lines. Megabus is famous for cheap bus tickets. Also you can get discounts on Jefferson lines from information desk in Coffman memorial union). You can also decide to travel by train or airplane.

It was very fun to travel by bus (it was my very first time bus traveling), but last year NY got huge snow blizzard that NY wasn't prepared for. It was serious snow blizzard. Unlike here, MN, where everybody is ready for snow, NY wasn't ready and they didn't have enough equipments for clearing snow. So when I arrived at bus station, none of the services were available and I had to stay at bus stations where everything was closed for over 14 hours. The next day, one of my friends saved me... :-)
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I traveled NY for two weeks, and I went everywhere as much as possible.
It was very fun. I would strongly recommend to all of you to travel around America, because while you travel you can meet so many different people and become friends together, and you can learn more about America. Also, if you like photograph you will love visiting new places. I traveled NY for winter trip, and went to Chicago (IL) for spring. This winter, I am going Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Fransisco
Want to join?! :-)

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Welcome to Seol's Pre-Campus Life 101

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Welcome back!
I wanted to talk a little bit about two things before I tell you all about how fun the school life, and campus life!
Two things are...
1. What should I do?! I just arrived at the airport!
2. Mr. Housing and Residential life, where should I live?

So before we jump right into the campus life 101, let me tell you my first day at U.
I still remember the day I came to U of M. It was night when I arrived here from South Korea, and I was lucky that I had somebody who helped me to move in. But I know many International students don't have any relatives or friends to ask when they first arrive at St. Paul International Airport (MSP). So how can they come to campus? Of course there are many options of taking bus, train, or taxi, but there is another option, better option, that you can choose!

Gopher Chauffeur is a good way to arrive on campus free. The program is through Boynton health service . This program, unfortunately, is only available right before the semester begins. For more informational, you can contact Julie Sanem, Advisor(jsanem@bhs.umn.edu). At least now, you don't have to worry how to get here.

Now you are arrived on campus, do you have any specific resident hall or apartment on your mind? If you do not, don't worry! We have plenty places where students can live. We have Bailey Hall (St. Paul campus), Comstock Hall (East bank), Middlebrook hall (West bank), Sanford Hall, Centennial Hall (SuperBlock), Frontier Hall (SuperBlock, freshman-only living), Pioneer Hall (SuperBlock), and Territorial Hall (SuperBlock, freshman-only living) as a residential hall. We also have on campus apartment buildings, and University Village, Roy Wilkins Hall, and Mark G. Yudof Hall are the apartment buildings. Every buildings have unique advantages, and as for the International student I would strongly suggest to go over each website. If you are arriving earlier, then Centennial hall has International Reception Center program where you can apply to make reservations to stay there for several nights. I believe the cost is $21 per night, and it is better to stay there. I myself arrived U this year one week earlier for pre-welcome week training for welcome week leaders (through OFYP- orientations and first-year programs). I had many suitcases, and I wasn't feeling comfortable going hotel by myself. Besides hotels can be very expensive... One thing that I recommend is that when you choose where to live, make sure whether your-choice residential hall opens during breaks. If you live in apartment, you don't have to worry, but each residential hall has different schedule of opening. For example, Middlebrook hall opens during winter break without any additional cost, but comstock hall isn't. I attached the file Detail information.pdf that you can review the appropriate information regarding to this (p. 23&24). So please check out if you are interested in! :-)

One quick note: you can preview the meal plan and board rate by going... here!

I hope you found great help from here!
The weather is getting cooler, so take care and don't forget to visit us back later for campus life 101!

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...and finally University Village!

Please understand that I couldn't find the right images for super-block...

Calling all students! We want to tell you about an exciting opportunity to explore more of Minnesota. Do camping, canoeing, campfires under the stars, making great new friends, and going to see new places sound fun to you? If so, ISSS invites you to join our Wilderness Week program to northern Minnesota.

Dates are August 18-22, 2011. This will be a great chance to meet students from all over the world. All international and US students (new and returning) are eligible. This is your chance to try (or try again) canoeing, hiking and camping in Minnesota! Enjoy campfires, stories, and time to meet new friends before the semester begins.

The cost of the trip is $395.00 per person. This price includes transportation, meals, group equipment, and guides.

For information email isssww@umn.edu, visit http://isss.umn.edu/programs/wildernessweek/ or call 612-626-7100.

Don't delay and miss your chance! When we talk with graduating students about what they wish they had done while at the U, exploring other areas of Minnesota and especially nature are top on the list.

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Baby, It's Cold in Minne-snow-ta!

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It is no secret that Minne-snow-ta winter is characterized by cold (below freezing) temperatures. In the Twin Cities (Minneapolis - Saint Paul) region, the average winter temperature is around 10 degree Fahrenheit (-12.2 degree Celsius). Yet, you have nothing to worry about because Minnesota also offers various attractions which help you forget the fact that it is cold outside!

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Some people do ride their bikes to school >.< Picture taken by: Asa Widiastomo

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