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Programs & Events for International Scholars

For more information about programs IFSO hosts for international scholars at UC San Diego, contact

IFSO Events and Workshops:

Newsletters - Programs and Events:

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Lunch and Learn Series:

Date Time Location Topic RSVP here Zoom
Tuesday, April 7, 2020 12:00pm (noon) - 1:00pm Online via Zoom Understanding J-1 Waivers and the 12 & 24 month bars
Tuesday, April 21, 2020 12:00pm (noon) - 1:00pm Online via Zoom Changing Status to H1B

Garnett Powers on Visitor Scholar Insurance Plans for J-1 Scholars

Representatives from Garnett-Powers and Associates will be visiting campus to talk about the J-1 Visiting Scholar insurance plans.

Topics to be addressed include:

  • How to use the health insurance plans to keep out-of-pocket costs less
  • How to best use the Basic plan given its minimal coverage
  • How to locate a provider in a specific zip code
  • Understanding U.S. health insurance jargon
  • How to read an "Explanation of Benefits"
  • Difference between Garnett-Powers, the insurance broker, and the actual insurance company

Note: This presentation will be focused on the Visiting Scholar plans and not the postdoctoral insurance plans; some of the material may be helpful, however, to new postdocs unfamiliar with systems of healthcare and insurance in the U.S.  


When:  Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Time:    12:00 P.M. - 1:00 P.M.
Where:  IFSO Programming Room
              2126 McGill Hall, 2nd Floor
Bring your own lunch; light dessert will be provided.

Understanding Taxes in the U.S.

This workshop will discuss basic U.S. tax concepts and processes to help scholars and students anticipate what their tax liability will be, as well as their annual tax filing obligations and what resources are available to meet these obligations. 
Topics include:
  • understanding what graduated tax rates are
  • understanding the difference between income and payroll (FICA) taxes
  • determining your tax residency status (Nonresident Alien vs Resident Alien for Tax Purposes) and implications for your tax liability
  • identifying potential tax treaty benefits
  • recognizing the different processes for federal vs state tax filing obligations
  • interpreting the different tax forms (W-4, W-2, 1042-S, etc.)
  • learning the timeline for completing your required federal and state tax returns
  • understanding basic resources available to help you in completing your tax returns


When:  Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Time:    12:00 P.M. - 1:00 P.M.
Where:  IFSO Programming Room
              2126 McGill Hall, 2nd Floor
Bring your own lunch; light dessert will be provided.

Resources in San Diego

This lunch and learn workshop is for scholars and dependents sponsored by UC San Diego to provide information on resources in the city and county of San Diego. Come learn about transportation, housing, family matters and other related topics as we discuss different opportunities that are available to you.

When: Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Time:   12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Where: IFSO Programming Room

             2126 McGill Hall, 2nd Floor

Bring your own lunch; light dessert will be provided.
RSVP to attend via Eventbrite

Understanding J-1 Waivers and the 12 and 24 Month Bars

If you are currently in a J1 status, we invite you to join us for an informational session on regulatory requirements that may affect you. Topics will include the 12 month bar, 24 month bar, 212e two-year home residency requirement, and more. Find out how these topics may affect you and your dependents. International Scholar and Student Advisors will be on hand to answer questions after the session.


When: Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Time:   12:00 P.M. - 1:00 P.M.
Where: IFSO Programming Room
             2126 McGill Hall, 2nd Floor
Bring your own lunch; light dessert will be provided.

Changing Status to H1B

Are you interested in changing your current immigration status to H1B? This workshop will provide an overview of the H1B status and how to change to H1B. Topics will include institutional policy, titles, 212e restrictions, costs, timing and more.

When: Tuesday, April, 21, 2020
Time:   12:00 P.M. - 1:00 P.M.
Where: IFSO Programming Room
             2126 McGill Hall, 2nd Floor
Bring your own lunch; light dessert will be provided.

RSVP to attend via Eventbrite

J-1 Travel workshop: Obtain your (Travel) Signature same day!

This workshop is for J-1 Exchange Visitors (faculty and scholars) sponsored by UC San Diego who are planning to travel outside the US. Learn about the documents you will need to reenter the US and steps you should take once you have reentered.

IFSO Staff will sign DS-2019s for J-1s and J-2 family members. Bring your original DS-2019s.


When: Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Time:   12:00 P.M. - 1:00 P.M.
Where: IFSO Programming Room
            2126 McGill Hall, 2nd Floor
Bring your own lunch; light dessert will be provided.
RSVP to attend via Eventbrite

Implications of the Visa Bulletin for Your Permanent Residency Plans

The International Faculty & Scholars Office will discuss the effects the visa bulletin has on scholars who want to apply for permanent residency. We will discuss the visa bulletin in the context of employment based permanent residency routes such as Extraordinary Ability (EB1), Outstanding Researcher & Professor (EB1), National Interest Waiver (EB2) and Labor Certification (EB2).
Topics to be addressed include:
  • How does the visa bulletin affect your ability to apply for permanent residency?
  • What is a priority date?
  • How do you establish your priority date?
  • How do you interpret the visa bulletin?
  • What is the difference between the “Final Action Dates” vs “Dates for filing?”
Note: This presentation is intended for scholars with basic knowledge of the permanent residency process. We highly encourage you to first attend the Permanent Residency Overview: Process and Pathway workshop
When:  TBA
Time:    12:00 P.M. - 1:00 P.M.
Where:  IFSO Programming Room
              2126 McGill Hall, 2nd Floor
Bring your own lunch; light dessert will be provided.

Programs for International Scholars and Family:

IFSO Superbowl Viewing

Come learn about American Football and watch the Superbowl!


IFSO will have our own private room with 5 big screen TVs and a pool table. There will be an informal presentation before the Superbowl viewing with free food; first come first serve. Additional menu items and drinks will be available for purchase.

Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 3:00 PM @ Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery @ The Brewer's Loft (Room)

8980 Villa La Jolla Dr

San Diego, CA 92037

RSVP via eventbrite


English in Action Conversation Program

English in Action Conversation Program

The English-in-Action (EIA) conversation program matches international students, scholars and spouses with volunteer conversation leaders to help with conversational English language skills, simultaneously helping you to acquire a better understanding of American culture and to acclimate more quickly to UC San Diego and the San Diego community.

The EIA volunteer conversation leaders are community members, faculty, staff, and students.

Friends Family Orientation

Friends Family OrientationInternational scholars and their family members are welcome to attend a special orientation that will provide information on educational and fun activities for families to participate in during their stay in San Diego. Enjoy coffee, conversation and friendship every first and third Wednesday of the month at 9:15 a.m., at McGill Hall 2nd Floor Suite 2126. Children are welcome to attend. Visit for additional information. 

For Schedule Updates and Announcements, please refer to


Friends of the International Center

Friends of the International CenterInternational visitors are welcome to enjoy these programs and activities; the link will direct you to each program's specific webpage for details: 

English Conversation
Everyday English (ESL)
Tuesday Craft Circle
Mommy, Daddy & Me
Cooking Program
Friends Dinner Social
Ethnic Dinners
Visit an American Home
Additional Programs/Information

For Schedule Updates and Announcements, please refer to

Friends' Resale Shop

Friends' Resale Shop

The Resale Shop, located at 214 University Center (Main Room), is an on-campus thrift store. We offer a wide range of gently used clothes (contemporary, designer and vintage), household items and books. Proceeds from the sales help fund scholarships and activities related to international education. Volunteers and donation of goods are welcome. Call (858) 534-1124, or email for more information.

Temporarily closed from March 14 - May 10. 2020

For Schedule Updates and Announcements, please refer to

Friends Wednesday Coffee

Friends Wednesday Coffee

International visitors are welcome every Wednesday morning for coffee, conversation and friendship.10 am to noon at University Center 409 (U409).  Details are here.

For Schedule Updates and Announcements, please refer to



International Education Week

International Education WeekInternational Education Week (IEW) is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. Initiated in 2000 by the US Department of State and the Department of Education, the week is dedicated to enhancing international awareness across UCSD campus as well as to reinforcing the importance of the exchange of students and scholars across borders.



International Friday Café

Friday International CafeFinish the week off right at the International Friday Café!  Meet people from around the world, enjoy international music, and explore world cultures all while enjoying a delicious meal from featured countries around the world.  All students, staff, faculty, and community members are welcome! $5 per person, CASH ONLY.

Intramural sports teams

Intramural sports teams

Anyone with RIMAC membership or Intramural Pass looking for a way to exercise and interact or connect with other staff members or students at UC San Diego? Intramural sports are amateur teams on campus, made of students, scholars, staff, or community members. Games are 1 hour long, once per week, on campus. Anyone can join the teams; they are just for fun. See a listing of RIMAC intramural team sports.

Language Exchange

Language ExchangeHelp someone learn your language, and enjoy conversational practice in their language in exchange! Visit This is a self-run program where you review who is available and choose your partner based on your language preferences.


OceanidsOceanids is a UC San Diego organization and support group promoting friendship and services to the UC San Diego community. They offer many services for international scholars such as the Kitchen & Baby Equipment Exchange (please refer to temporary closure note below) as well as activities ranging from a Whale Watching trip during the Winter quarter to a Desert camping trip; to receive these announcements, please sign up here.

Oceanids has 20 different interest groups and the three listed below are popular amongst new postdocs or scholars at UC San Diego; the link will direct you to each group's specific webpage for details:

Hiking In and Around San Diego County
Moveable Feast I 
Wine Tasting II
Oceanids full list of interest groups


Due to concerns of cross-contamination with regard to COVID-19, we will be temporarily closing the Kitchen Exchange as a precaution to protect both our campus community and staff until further notice.  Thank you for your understanding. 

For Returns ONLY:

Please contact either Liz Johnson @ (503) 504 8564 or Judy Vacquier @ (858) 361 0418 and we will arrange to meet with you.

UC San Diego Events Calendar

UCSD Calendar