isp virtualThe International Student Program (ISP) team has worked hard to move their operations online so that they can continue to provide support to the international student population at Skyline College in a similar capacity as before. While some operations such as email and phone calls have continued as before, ISP has had to come up with creative ways to continue to stay in touch with students. Here are some of the things that have been done:

  • All appointments have gone virtual. The ISP staff meets with students via Zoom as needed. Carlos Romero, the academic counselor, is constantly booked about a week in advance.
  • Virtual drop-in hours: There is a one hour drop-in Zoom meeting every afternoon for students to drop by to chat or ask questions.
  • ISP has also held several webinars to ensure that students get the necessary information to maintain their F-1 statuses and stay on track. Some of the webinars that were hosted are:
    • SEVIS Updates: There have been two webinars on this, updating students on the regulatory changes that have been made because of the COVID-19 situation.
    • Health Insurance: A How-to Guide
    • Peer Panel: Students shared tips and tricks on how to stay on track with online classes/distance learning, how to get essentials such as food, and where to get support if a student needs it
    • Employment Workshops
  • Severe Economic Hardship
  • Summer Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training

On top of these, a weekly newsletter goes out to students on Tuesday at noon via email and there are daily social media posts in order to reach out to as many students as possible. Last, but not least, the International Student Club (ISC) hosted its first virtual general meeting on April 16, 2020 where students got together to catch up and play some virtual games. The ISC intends to host at least one more virtual general meeting before the end of the semester.

The ISP will continue to provide the same level of support to the international student population to the best of its capabilities by providing more avenues for students to get in touch, hosting webinars and other events, as well as ensuring that students know that ISP is there for them.

Article and Photo by Clair Yeo-Sugajski

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