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  • Indonesian Cultural Night

  • Keep Life Exciting After Things are No Longer New

  • Reverse Culture Shock

    Many of us have heard of culture shock and talk about it, but many of us experience reverse culture shock and do not talk about it. But, what is a reverse culture shock? If you have ever gone back to your home country and felt uncomfortable with something that you used to be familiar with, then you are experiencing it, and don’t worry, you’re not alone! And if you have ever wondered how that could be possible, then you’re at the right place!

  • International Students' Spotlight Series

  • Iranian Cultural Association: Mohsen Namjoo Concert

    Cultural Event

  • My Road Trip to the House on the Rock

  • My Volunteer Experience with VITA

  • My Pre-Completion OPT Experiences

  • Overcoming the “Why Am I Here” Mentality of Freshman Year

  • How to Keep Life Exciting When Things Are No Longer New

  • When Christmas Comes to Town, We Go Home

  • Financial Aid and Scholarships? We Have Options!

  • Planning for After Commencement Weekend

  • My Teaching Experiences Through LAS 101

  • “Falling” in Love with Champaign-Urbana

  • Several Tips for Getting Along with Your Roommate

  • "Hailstorms" Around the World

  • How to Avoid Scams That Target International Students

  • Winter is Coming (Nah, No Game of Thrones References)!

  • Name An Amino Acid, Get A Candy!

  • How to Cope with Jet Lag

  • Did you get the $2 Lattes at Espresso Royale this Wednesday?

  • College Life Hacks at UIUC

    I’d like to present to you College Life Hacks, where I gather 5 hacks that I wish I would’ve known earlier. Sharing is caring, so feel free to add anything you like to say below and keep this article updated!

  • My RSO Leadership Experience

  • Staying Healthy to Stay Productive

  • All About that Slang - Part Four: Abreevs!

    All About that Slang - Part Four: Abreevs!

    This week we're taking a look at American English slang based on abreevs (or abbreviations).......

  • All About that Slang - Part Four: Greetings and Goodbyes!

    All About that Slang - Part Five: Greetings and Goodbyes!

    This week we're taking a look at American English slang for saying hello and goodbye.......

  • All About that Slang - Part Three: Sprots!

    All About that Slang - Part Three: Sprots!

    This week we're taking a look at American English slang from American sports. Don't love sports? Don't worry, these expressions can be used in almost any setting.......

  • Student Blogger: Thinking about Life after College

    It is like all of a sudden, and I have been a blogger for almost one year. I am so thankful and proud to be an IOSL and a ISSS blogger in my college year. This experience is one of the best things I have ever done in my college year.

    Time goes fast, and it is about the end of spring semester, which means that I will be a senior next semester. I am happy that I have only one year to go, but also, at this point of my life, I begin to think about my life after college.

    I am not an early bird, lots of my peers, especially international students, have been planning for their future way ahead. My roommate is studying for GRE: a standard test like SAT or ACT that you need a nice score for applying for some of the graduate schools, or GMAT, if you are in non-STEM majors. For some of my friends...

  • Student Blogger: Using the Library

    University of Illinois is known for its library system. Ranked the second largest among Universities in the United States, the U of I library system is only bested by Harvard. So proud of being a U of I student! I always feel like I am in a paradise of books and resources. There are several aspects of library in U of I that I like.

    First of all, if you want to find somewhere...

  • Student Blogger: Spring Break - Creating a travel plan

    By Qianyu (Margaret) Cheng

    The whole campus had covered in snow for three month, but cheers, spring has finally arrived! All students start to lie on the Quad to enjoy the sunshine in the company of friends and squirrels. Enjoy the spring days!

    That being said, spring break is ahead one week from now. “What are you going to do for spring break” becomes a hot topic for small talk. To be honest, spring break is my favorite break. The weather is nice, all the ice that blocked the street melted, and we can have a nice whole week of break. So, what am I, an international student going to do during spring break?...

  • Good vs. Bad

    All About that Slang - Part Two: It's All Good

    Slang often develops in the most useful and most commonly used communication situations. We use value judgments all the time, so this is a good place to get our slang on point.

  • Student Blogger: Dining Halls and special food nights

    By Qianyu (Margaret) Cheng

    The food in dorm is always highlight of my day when I lived in university housing. After a whole tiring day of study, it is a pleasure to just sit down and enjoy the food buffet that university staff proudly present. To tempt our taste buds, there are also several special food nights, and those secret recipes enlighten the study days.

    First thing I want to point out is...

  • All about that slang, y'all

    You're here to study, but you're also here to pick up American culture. Culture is deeply embedded in language, especially slang, colloquialisms, and regionalisms. Make the most of your time at U of I by upping your slang game.

  • Student Blogger: Spring Festival at U of I

    By Qianyu (Margaret) Cheng

    The time that I love the most is spring festival. Being the first day of the year in lunar calendar, spring festival signifies a new beginning, and it is always time for family to be together. Among most countries in Asia, people celebrate spring festival as the most important day of the year. Lunar New Year always starts at mid February-ish, which is exactly the time when midterms go on. As a result, being an international student like me, it is no way to gather with my family at all - I cannot just drop my midterms and go all the way home. However...

  • Student Blogger: Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

    By Qianyu (Margaret) Cheng

    During my first visit of University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, a gorgeous shell-like building located in the center of campus caught my eye. At first I thought it was a stadium since it was huge, but later on I find out that Krannert Center is for performing arts. It is a place to enjoy performing arts and for art students to practice what they learn in class. It is really a hidden treasure for Champaign-Urbana, especially for students.

    U of I students enjoy student discount for tickets so it is easy for students to enjoy performing arts in a fairly low price, right here on campus. Not only do Art major students in University of Illinois perform some of the shows, but also will world famous groups perform here. All kinds of shows...

  • Student Blogger: The International Career Certificate Program

    By Qianyu (Margaret) Cheng

    Hi everyone, welcome back! How was your Winter break? We are now on a brand new page: 2015. I'm looking forward to the start of Spring semester.

    There is a really significant event every semester: the career fair. Some of you may already have heard about it before, and we had several blogs about career fair too. I personally also went to a career fair, but I also realized how hard it was for an international student like me to find a full time job or even a internship. I am new to this culture, this language, and many other aspects. How can I stand out in many other candidates and get the position I want?

    Last semester, I learned about International Career Certificate program in ISSS newsletter. I heard about the program a lot, and that it was especially designed for helping international student succeed in job market. Since I recently met some difficulties in job hunting...

  • Student Blogger: Alternative Spring (Fall?) Break

    By Qianyu (Margaret) Cheng

    How was your Thanksgiving break? Just as students came back from Fall break, Thanksgiving becomes a popular small talk topic on campus nowadays. Although after fall break, there will be only two weeks of study and the semester will be over, a week of break is still a good escape from the intense study.

    Thanksgiving is an important holiday in U.S., while on that day family will gather together and have a delicious meal. For international students...

  • Student Blogger: Life as an IOSL

    By Qianyu (Margaret) Cheng

    Hi everyone, welcome to ISSS blog. Today I am glad to talk about my experience as being a international orientation student leader. I have been a IOSL for two years and it is one of the best experiences I have on campus.

    I applied to be a IOSL back when I was a freshman. I was once confused and panic for the unknown college life. Yet so many have helped me in all aspects, both in life and in academic. After a while when I finally settled down and comfortable with everything, the application of IOSL on ISSS newsletter attracted me. Every year there are many international students come to university of Illinois, and they will all experience the same thing I had been through. Since I have been helped by so many people, I want to help the new students back so that they can have the same positive study abroad experience as mine.

    After I applied...

  • Campus Resources: The IOSL Program and La Casa Cultural Latina

    By Liaohan (David) He -- IOSL

    ISSS Blog Administrator’s Note:

    The International Orientation Student Leaders program is a unique leadership and employment training opportunity, made possible through a partnership between International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) and New Student Programs (NSP). We are currently recruiting for the 2015-2016 IOSL cohort and we invite all Illinois undergraduate students to apply. The position is not limited to international students as domestic students with a strong understanding of the international student population are invited to apply. For more information, please visit:

    Liaohan (David) He is a currently serving in the 2014-2015 IOSL cohort. The blog post below is edited excerpts from his description of the experience, reprinted here with his permission. The campus resource scavenger hunt he mentions was part of the Spring 2014 IOSL training.

    I have come so far since March. It turns out that I did not know the school that well. There are millions of things to be discovered, fun and educational at the same time! I want to share all this information with all the international students to help them feel warm and at home [at the University of Illinois], just as I felt through the IOSL program.

    This is the best work opportunity I have discovered so far on campus. I had the chance to...

  • Student Blogger: Life Skills - Reading your E-mail

    By Qianyu (Margaret Cheng)

    Hey everyone! Ready for the next post? Today’s post is about the importance of reading your e-mail. Have you ever deleted a super long e-mail without glancing at it? I did it all the time since I did not have the patience to read through all the text. However, even the seemingly most boring e-mail might have hidden treasure, and it is really a life skill for me, a college international student, to find out about resources and events on campus, academic news and opportunities, and much more. 

    Here are several categories of e-mails I have been receiving and found extremely helpful to our everyday life. 

    The first category is...

  • Student Blogger: Homesickness and how to Cope

    By Qianyu (Margaret) Chen

    Hi everyone! Welcome to the ISSS blog again! :) This week I'll be talking about my experience as an international student of going through homesickness. Now I am okay with the balance of school and contact with family, but when I first came to U.S., after a period of excitement, I started to feel a sense of homesick. After some time to adjust, I overcome most of it and I would like to share with you all.

    First of all, it was hard for me to figure out the time differences. There are 13 hours differences from my hometown to United States, so normally when it was afternoon and I wanted to chat with my parents or friends in my high school, they were all sleeping since it was early morning for them. And when my parents got up and was ready to call me, it was time for me to do homework. At first...

  • Campus Resources: Illini Union Board -- It’s Nowhere and Everywhere!

    By Yudong (Dora) Wang -- IOSL

    As a member of UIUC community, you’ve must been to Illini Union – the heart of our campus. Events and programs are held in the Union throughout the year: concerts, comedy shows, movie nights, and lots of other fun activities. However, are you aware that those entertaining events are planned and run by an organized and energetic group called Illini Union Board ( IUB, short for Illini Union Board, is dedicated to overlooking and supporting all events and programs taking place in the Illini Union. For me it’s like the air in the union: you can hardly find any clues of advertising about IUB, but each single event relies on IUB to coordinate and facilitate.

    By now IUB might still sound new to you, so let’s go discuss activities within the Illini Union first. Every Fall semester...

  • Student Blogger: Educate yourself about your Immigration Status

    By Qianyu (Margaret) Cheng

    Hi! Welcome to ISSS blog again J today our topic is about immigration status. It’s fairly important for you to maintain your F-1 status as an international student. Although at first it may seem overwhelming, but later on you will realize that once you have yourself educated, it’s easy and fun.

    You probably all remember that excitement when you were admitted to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. However, after that, another challenge had been put on schedule – the visa appointment. It’s different for each country, but in China an interview is needed and I still remember the question...

  • Student Blogger: Knowing what to say and when to say it

    By Qianyu (Margaret) Cheng

    Hi, it’s Qianyu (Margaret). How’s the semester going for everyone? The first midterm is coming up and I am sure you can do it! Today’s topic is about interpersonal communication and cultural context.

    Back when I first came to U.S., and when I was already a sophomore, I was okay with my grade as I got used to the university system. I also got involved in club activities and events on campus and I had a group of friends. The only concern was: I don’t know how to talk.

    I am okay with formal English usage, because as the time went on I gradually learned how to order food or coffee in dining hall, and how to ask my advisor about my academic progress. The only thing was that I didn’t know how to make small talk.

    When I met people I don’t know...

  • Campus Resources: Office of the Dean of Students

    Lingli (Alyssa) Kong -- International Orientation Student Leader

    Maybe you haven’t heard of the Office of Dean of Students (ODOS). However, ever since you were admitted, New Student Programs, one of the many offices under ODOS, had started to email you. Once you start your student life here at U of I, you would be amazed by how much you would utilize ODOS! You could get your licenses such as passports and academic transcripts certified at the Student Legal Service. You would interact with Fraternity and Sorority Affairs after joining the university’s large Greek community. You would get advice from the Tenant Union while searching for an apartment or house. All these offices are under the Office of Dean of Students.

    Similar as me, you would be frequently directed to the Student Assistant Center, the frontline office of the Dean of Students, after mistakenly calling the other campus resources. At the Center...

  • Student Blogger: Thinking in your native language and overcoming communication gaps

    By Qianyu (Margaret) Cheng

    Hey everyone! It's me, Margaret again. It's so nice to see you all. For those who are new here, welcome to the U of I! My name is Qianyu Cheng (but I also go by Margaret). I was born and raised in Hangzhou, China, and I am a junior majoring in Actuarial Science. As an International Student Orientation Leader (IOSL), I greeted freshman and transfer students at the beginning of the semester. I will also be your blogger for International Student and Scholar Services Blog for the rest of year! I am so excited to share my stories and tips with everyone!

    As an international student whose native language is not English, I experienced lots of communication gaps when I first came to U.S. After a 13 hour flight, when I finally got to the Chicago O’Hare Airport and waited for the bus to come to Champaign, I was so tired and hungry. Yet I didn't go to the nearest McDonald to buy anything because I was afraid of talking and making mistakes when I ordered food. 

    As soon as I got to U.S...

  • Student Blogger: Join the Conversation and Make Some Friends

    By Qianyu (Margaret) Cheng

    Discussing is going on.

    The topic is about “how to make friends”… And every one seems to have a lot to say. They are talking, joking, laughing, and sharing their points of view, except me.

    To be honest....

  • Student Blogger: Traveling Between Cultures

    By Qianyu (Margaret) Cheng

    Time goes fast. When I notice it is already in the middle of the April. At the time between April and May, Surprisingly, while sun is shiny all over the place, occasionally the snow will also appear for a minute or two. The harmony of snowflake and sunshine is a sort of beauty that beyond description. The weather in Champaign is a little bit different from my hometown, but I love both.

    The snow represents the extreme winter and sunshine represents the very summer, the overlapping of these two is really appealing. Just like the weather, the difference in culture is somehow the same. The difference between western culture and eastern culture is just like that. During the two years’ studying abroad experience, I get the feeling that both of them are beautiful and unique.

    First of all...

  • Student Blogger: My experience at International Week

    By Qianyu (Margaret) Cheng

    After a whole week of relaxing spring break, we finally embrace the second half of the spring semester. Finally the snow disappears and sunshine comes out, indicating the arrival of spring. In the meantime, this is a special time on campus. The international week, as well as other cultural events right after the spring break, brought us a brand new experience of the global world.

    From March 31 to April 6, 2014, UIUC celebrates international weeks. First time that I knew about this special week...