The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 4, 2006

Photos: University of Iowa student Gyorgy Toth, an orientation assistant with the UI Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), provides new international students with orientation packets and information as part of an Early Arrival Welcome Session in University Capitol Centre (UCC). UCC is the new location for UI International Programs, with which OISS is affiliated, located in the heart of the campus and community in the Old Capitol Town Center.

UI International Students Transition To Life In U.S., Iowa City

On Tuesday, Aug. 8, more than 300 new international students will begin their transition to the United States on the University of Iowa campus, kicking off the 2006-07 academic year. But before classes and work can set in, these international students, who are joining a community that totaled 2,285 international students last fall, will spend about two weeks learning the ropes of Iowa City, observing the wide spectrum of available cultural activities and discovering more about the university's services and resources.

The UI Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) and affiliated community organizations are sponsoring orientation activities to help international students and scholars adjust to American life on the University of Iowa's campus and in the community.

"It's an introduction to everything that international students need to know," said OISS Director Scott King. "And more than anything, our goal is to help these students feel more comfortable and begin the process of acclimation to their new environment."

Orientation activities will commence Tuesday, Aug. 8 with pre-orientation check-in at the University Capitol Centre in the Old Capitol Town Center. Campus tours and an opportunity to obtain university IDs will follow. Planned activities range from routine information sessions, such as immigration regulations and immunizations, to programs like learning-about-the-library workshops and English Proficiency Evaluations. Students can also take part in special celebrations, such as the Friends of International Students 35th anniversary picnic on Aug. 19 and social activities such as square dancing at Old Brick Church Aug. 10.

New international students are also invited to attend a Welcome Lunch at hotelVetro in the Pedestrian Mall on Wed., Aug. 9, and a myriad of events sponsored by the COGS union and local banks, including US Bank, Hills Bank, and Iowa State Bank and Trust on Aug. 9-10. UI International Programs' move from across the river to the Old Capitol Town Center last year facilitated many changes in orientation this year - including a more streamlined plan and an increased incorporation of downtown Iowa City.

"We'll use our new offices to connect with international students right from the moment when they arrive," King said about their new location.

For more information or a comprehensive schedule of orientation activities, resources and programs, visit the OISS website at:

Following are some other highlights:

-- Life in Iowa, August through December 2006: Organized by OISS, the series is designed to assist international students adjust to living and studying in Iowa. Activities include an ice cream social on Aug. 25 and sessions focusing on topics like American idioms and slang, money and time management and on relationships: American style. For a complete schedule, visit: and click on the Life in Iowa series to obtain a downloadable PDF file or call Helen Jameson, OISS Assistant Director for Programming at 319-335-0335 or e-mail

-- The Friends of International Students (FIS): A non-profit community organization affiliated with OISS, FIS matches individual students with local families for a mutual exchange of friendship and ideas. New friends are always needed for international students, and interested individuals can fill out an application at FIS is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, and will kick off the new year with a picnic Saturday, Aug. 19 in Shelter No. 6 City Park. Anyone interested in helping new international students feel welcome is invited to attend and should bring a dish to share. For more information, call Scott King, OISS liaison to FIS, at 319-335-0335 or e-mail

-- The Organization for the Active Support of International Students (OASIS): This UI student organization gives voice to the rich diversity of international students present on the UI campus. For more information, visit, call 319-335-0355 or e-mail

-- International Women's Club: This community organization is open to women from many countries, including the United States, who want to get to know each other, learn and enjoy life together in Iowa City. A variety of ongoing activities are planned, including coffees, cooking, arts and crafts sessions and English classes. For more information, visit

Last year, 384 new international students came to the university, a decrease of 3.7 percent from fall 2004 when 391 students arrived - the first drop in enrollment since 1998. Declining international student applications and enrollments has been a national trend since 2003, but King said the university is experiencing stability. Though he estimates more than 300 new students will arrive this fall, exact numbers will not be available until after registration ends in early September.

International students at the University of Iowa currently represent 109 different countries, ranging from China and India, to Zambia and Iceland.

The top areas of study pursued by UI International students include the MBA program, chemistry, civil and environmental engineering, actuarial science and pharmacy. UI International students make up seven percent of the student population, with 84 percent as graduate or professional students and 16 percent as undergraduates.

OISS is part of UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for international programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

For a complete calendar of international student orientation events, or to arrange an interview with new international students, call Lois Gray at 319-335-2026.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Scott King, 319-335-0335,; Writer: Erika Binegar.