After the outbreak of a global pandemic, life for international students hasn’t been the same. Travel restrictions and strict lockdown measures have made physical classes on a campus impossible. The majority of 2020 was spent adapting to zoom lectures and online assessment. International students who went back home during March 2020 haven’t still been able to return to campus. Their prolonged absence has caused many unforeseen difficulties in terms of visa expiry. Also, international students who remain in their country of study are facing deportation charges. The USA has also been reluctant to help its immigrant student community until recently. Visa extension sanctions are underway for students who can make up for their lost year in 2021.
Penn State has been trying day in and day out to assist their international student body through these difficult times. When other US universities fail to attend to student grievances, the Directorate of International Student & Scholar Advising or DISSA of Penn’s office department is trying its best to keep students informed. In such unprecedented times, rules are ever-changing, so a college portal for guiding international students becomes necessary. Students have many questions regarding immigration, visa, examination, the commencement of physical classes, and employment opportunities that institutions need to address personally. Most international students are now doing online classes from abroad. The Advising Department plays a key role in making sure students get all relevant information from one reliable source
Penn State’s diverse student body
Penn State is among the top-ranked universities in the United States as well as globally. Ranked among the top 10 universities in the USA, Penn State experiences a vast international student rush each year. Belonging to over 130 different nations, 10% of undergraduates enrolled at Penn State are overseas students. The diversity of the student body is something the university takes great pride in. In response to the deadly pandemic, international students’ support and engagement have become more complicated yet crucial.
DISSA at Penn State has been established to guide enrolled and aspiring students along their US education journey. They offer training programs, advice regarding courses, and immigration procedures. Students, Ph.D. scholars, and faculty members can also get their doubts cleared from DISSA with one quick email. Especially after the pandemic, visa and immigration-related matters have become quite convoluted. DISSA will give you the right information from credible sources and point you in the right direction. The high percentage of international students who wish to be associated with Penn State can now utilize this additional facility.
DISSA supporting the international community of Penn State
Penn State’s Directorate of International Student & Scholar Advising has been established in the hopes of assisting international junior scholars, staff, and students starting at Penn State. They also help students understand federal laws and requirements to apply for a work permit in the USA. DISSA helps international students settle into the country better. If you need advice related to your immigration status, work status, or other federal matters, you can also seek their help at Penn State.
Post pandemic, the organization has been continuously trying to innovate. With the USA’s changing political scenario and its laws, they are continually updating international students about the new immigration regulations. As many students are looking to reenter the USA to start the session of 2021, DISSA helps them figure out all immigration and visa requirements on time. According to new regulations, students can also stay back in their home country and still maintain their US student status. Penn State is also looking to delay physical sessions as Covid cases are still rising in the United States. Each student coming from abroad must have a valid Covid test and follow mandatory quarantine regulations if required.
DISSA, apart from assisting students in settling down in the United States, also makes sure they can get a work permit as soon as possible. To work on-campus, a student must acquire a social security number. The process is relatively easy, and DISSA will help in each step of the process. For seniors who wish to work off-campus as part of internships, international students must apply for the Optional Practical Training. We are also assisting students who have decided to take a break during the pandemic. They can remain fully admitted to Penn State without physically being there.
A token of appreciation for DISSA
Directorate of International Student and Scholar Advising, a representative for Penn State overseas students and scholars with the Departments of State and Homeland Security, is crucial in integrating foreigners into the US state and education system. They have been providing advice and training to international candidates regarding immigration, housing, and work-related issues. Students have said that DISSA has helped them navigate the ever-changing immigration laws during pandemic times. If not for the hardships of the international students and staff community at Penn State would be multiplied. They have advised and helped students maintain living or study status in the United States during unprecedented times.
From employment, health insurance, sponsorship, visa status DISSA is helping students in every manner possible. Even during the pandemic, they have reached out to students virtually and reassured them at regular intervals. Such an effort from their side is highly appreciated by the international student community at Penn State. They have different departments catering to various matters like pre-arrival, junior scholar, and employment advising. Also, for matters related to housing and transport DISSA helps a great deal. International students can apply for a driving license in Pennsylvania with their assistance.
When students first arrive at Penn State, they can get a little overwhelmed, especially students from other countries. DISSA is there for just the purpose of making student life a little bit easier for international candidates who might experience some cultural shocks. The student feedback related to DISSA and its facilities has been at the large positive. So they continue to impart training and advice to potential and current international students of Penn State.