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Programs and Events for International Scholars

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J1 Orientation H1B Orientation Permanent Residency Orientation Lunch & Learn Series IFSO programming


IFSO Lunch & Learn Series:

Lunch & Learn sessions cover frequently asked questions sent to our office as well as other topics, and are designed for our international scholars, faculty, students, and their families, as well as our departmental collaborators.

If there is a topic that you are interested in having IFSO present that is currently not included in the list of drawers below, please feel free to reach out to

Date Time Location Topic Virtual Meeting

Thursday, April 22

12:00pm (noon) - 1:00pm Online Understanding J1 Waivers and the 12- and 24-Month Bars

Register here; details in drawer below

Tuesday, August 24

12:00pm (noon) - 1:00pm Online Gallagher (Garnett-Powers) on Visitor Scholar insurance plans for J1 Scholars

Register here; details in drawer below

Navigating Travel Restrictions in the Time of Covid19

This workshop is for faculty and scholars sponsored by UC San Diego who are planning to travel outside the US. Learn about the various travel restrictions enacted through presidential proclamation that could impact your travel and reentry to the U.S., as well as understanding the process for J-1s to request a travel signature, which documents you will need to reenter the US, and steps you should take once you have reentered.

Workshop took place on 11/3/20 @ noon.

Inquiries? Please email your IFSO advisor directly or

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. 
Past Event:

Tuesday, November 10 @ noon



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.
Upcoming presentation: 4/22/21


Previous presentation took place on 11/17/20



IFSO + The Basics: Immigration 101

This workshop is for anyone interested in understanding the basics of the immigration work we do within IFSO, UC San Diego. As it is a subject that can be very complex, we will be presenting with a surface level approach, going over terms and frequently asked questions we encounter. Our aim is to provide explanations on important topics such as visas we work with and common terminology, among others. Please note: There will be no advising during this Lunch & Learn session.

Past Event: Thursday, October 1 @ noon


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

Representatives from Gallagher (Garnett-Powers) will be available via zoom to talk about the J-1 Visiting Scholar insurance plans.

Topics to be addressed include:
  • Understanding U.S. health insurance jargon
  • 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
  • How to read an "Explanation of Benefits"
  • Difference between Gallagher (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.  

General Health Insurance Questions: Please email


Upcoming presentation is on 8/24/21


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
Previous workshops:
Tuesday, February 2, 2021 @ 12 noon - 1 pm

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 @ 12 noon - 1 pm

Tax inquiries?

Completing the Federal Tax Form 8843

This workshop is for all F students and J Exchange Visitors who were present inside the U.S. for at least one day during 2020 in F or J status, are Nonresident Aliens for federal tax purposes, AND have no U.S. source income. If you meet all of these conditions, your only U.S. federal tax filing obligation is completing the Form 8843 (dependents must file this form as well). The workshop will review tax filing obligations, tax residency determination, and then proceed step-by-step in filling out the Form 8843 from both an F/J student perspective and a J scholar perspective.

Previous workshop:
Tuesday, February 16, 2021 @ 12 noon - 1 pm

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.
Past Events:
Tuesday, September 29 @ 12 noon - 1pm
Tuesday, March 30 @ 12 noon - 1pm


Collaborative Webinars: Hot Topics in Immigration and F1 OPT & Beyond

** Note: Subtitles/Closed Captions for all videos were automatically generated by Zoom. If you have questions regarding any of the information on the videos contact **

Hot Topics in Immigration with Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP Immigration Attorneys (2/19/21 via Zoom)  

Sponsored by the International Faculty and Scholars Office (IFSO)
and International Students and Programs Office (ISPO)
A discussion of current topics in the area of immigration, including the current status of travel bans, proposed changes to H-1B (cap, prevailing wages, specialty occupation), public charge, duration of status, STEM OPT program, and Biden immigration plan.

PDF of Powerpoint Presentation


OPT and Beyond: Navigating the U.S. Immigration System (2/23/21 via Zoom)

Sponsored by the International Faculty and Scholars Office (IFSO)
and International Students and Programs Office (ISPO)

Join student and scholar advisors and Claudia Martorell, an immigration attorney with Larrabee Albi Coker LLP for information related to OPT, STEM OPT, changing to H-1B.

Programs for International Scholars and Family:

IFSO programming is open to our international scholars, faculty, postdocs, researchers and their families etc as well as to our department affiliates and community members to attend for free.  This section also includes Global Education as well as our affiliates: Friends and Oceanids.

If there is an activity that you are interested in that is currently not included in the list of drawers below, or you would like to collaborate with IFSO on an event, please feel free to reach out to

Date Time Location Topic Virtual Meeting Registration

Every Friday!

(during academic quarter/excluding Holidays)

12:00pm (noon) Online iCafé - Your Passport to Culture! Register Here
May 6 12:00pm (noon) - 1:00pm Online

The Art of Origami (an interactive session)

Register Here



iCafé - Your Passport to Culture!

iCafé, International Friday Café’s virtual café, teams up with campus partners to explore the world as global citizens and frequent "virtual" flyers!

Play Travel Trivia hosted by Extension (winner gets a prize!) and enjoy our Global Playground hosted by Recreation. Receive a free apron by sharing a recipe in the Cook Club! This fun global exploration happens during lunch time on Fridays (PST).

Connect with your Triton community over culture, trivia, fitness and cuisine. Join us and bring a friend...It's free and fun of course!

Information and Schedule: 

Past Event: 10/23/20 IFSO Hosting iCafe: Mexico

The Art of Origami (an interactive session) featuring Origami Folders

Origami Folders (Facebook page)

Origami masters will showcase their abilities and lead a beginner/kid friendly demo featuring origami butterflies (pictured below).
If time, there might be an intermediate demo for those that are more familiar with this art form.
Please be prepared with a few sheets of squared paper to participate.  For instructions on how to make a square sheet of paper (using printer or notebook paper), please refer to wikiHow prior to the event.
Date: Thursday, May 6
Time: Noon - 1 pm

RSVP (virtual event)


Becoming an effective communicator with your kids’ schools and teachers to best support their international experience

Living abroad with children and/or adolescents opens up a whole new world of opportunities to experience a new language and cultures. It also inspires us to look at our own language/s and cultures from a different perspective. School is an important part of our kids’ lives and it will continue to be when living in a different country. When interacting with our kids’ new school and teachers, sometimes, we might not understand the way things are done, and we may be hesitant to ask questions. We want to support your process and give you tools to successfully build family-school-community relationships. Let’s start by looking at ways to initiate and maintain communication with teachers and schools. We will also explore questions, possible misunderstandings and ways to resolve them. And, we will look into community resources and your family’s special role as your country’s ambassador.

Guest speaker: Maria Luiza (Malu) Dantas, PhD

Event sponsored by EIA, ISPO.

In collaboration with IFSO.

CANCELLED Date: January 26, 2021@noon

We are working on logistics for new date/time/etc. 

Please check back for updates!



Supporting Bi/Multilingualism at Home and When Living Abroad

What does it mean and look like to be a bi/multilingual family? What are the opportunities available to support bi/multilingualism at home and when living abroad? Bi/multilingualism is a choice and you can make it! But you don’t need to do it all by yourself. Like parenting, raising a child bilingual or multilingual can be challenging but there is also help available to make the journey. We want to support your journey by looking at relevant research and creative language tools and approaches; exploring challenges and possibilities; and creating opportunities for you to meet other like-minded families. 

Guest speaker: Maria Luiza (Malu) Dantas, PhD

Event sponsored by EIA, ISPO.

In collaboration with IFSO.

Date: Dec 8, 2020

Time: 12 noon to 1:30 pm

Register Here

***Open to UC San Diego Staff, Faculty, Scholars, Partners, and Community***

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Supporting bi/multilingualism.png

Holiday Treat/Crafting - Make a Reindeer Shaped Treat

Make a Reindeer Shaped Treat with IFSO!


Date: Thursday, December 10, 2020
Time: 4pm – 5pm
Step 1: Register here

***Event is open to all, feel free to share the registration link***

Step 2: Purchase the following to participate in the interactive portion.

Shopping List:
  • Pretzels
  • Rolo Chocolate (or other round chocolate easy to melt)
  • Red candy/chocolate, M&Ms or skittles work great!
  • Candy eyes (or mini marshmallows, frosting, white chocolate chip, etc.)
  • A method of slightly melting chocolate (microwave, toaster oven, oven, etc.)

Questions? Reach out to us at 

Step 3: Join us Virtually on 12/10/20 at 4:00pm to make our pretzel Reindeers and talk about our favorite holiday treats!

Virtual Beer 101


Do you want to learn about the brewing processes and general beer styles?  Learn from a brew master's perspective and take a virtual walk around the brewery. There will also be an interactive portion with an option to purchase the beers that will be used during the pouring demonstration; should you choose to do so (this option is not mandatory) this would easily extend to a virtual beer tasting for your home enjoyment.


Past Event:

Step 1:  Register!

              DATE: 10/21(Wednesday) 
              TIME:   4:00 – 5:00 pm 

              Please note that due to the beer theme, this event is for participants that are 21 years of age and older. 

Step 2: Purchase/Pickup beer, not mandatory, but an option for those that want to partake in the interactive portion 

              Optional: Beers for purchase; these will be used for the pouring demonstration: 
-Weekend Hazy IPA
-Mesa Nueva Mexican Lager
-If time, Raspberry Wundersauer  

If you will be virtually participating with the pouring demonstration, please pre-order and/or pick up in advance of the event at either location; online pre-ordering is also available for convenience on Rough Draft’s webpage 

  • UCSD Pub (Mesa Nueva, East Campus, 3869 Miramar Street, La Jolla, 92037): Wednesday - Saturday 6 to 10 PM
  • Miramar Tasting Room (8830 Rehco Road, Suite D, San Diego, CA 92121): Tuesday - Friday from 12 pm to 7pm.
  • Each 16oz crowler can is $4

Step 3: Meet us virtually on 10/21/20!

IFSO Coffee/Social Hour

Join IFSO (with your cup of coffee/tea) to meet the UC San Diego Triton community!

We will be hosting a Coffee/Social Hour on Friday, June 12, 2020 from 3:30p – 4:30p!

We look forward to meeting you virtually and discussing movies/shows, food/restaurants, and much more!

Registration: Register Here

Interactive Virtual Concert

IFSO would like to bring together all music enthusiasts, musicians, and singers for an interactive virtual concert!

What does this mean? You can showcase your skills whether it be instrumental, A Capella, or something else; all ideas or forms of musical expression are welcome!

This event is open for all levels and any type of music genre. This is not a competition, we are solely building community. If you love music, please join us. 

Past Event:

Date: Thursday, August 13

Time: 3:30pm – 4:30pm

RSVP: Click Here

***Attendees are not required to perform, those that solely want to listen and enjoy time spent together are always welcome*



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.

Past Event:

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



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 Center

Friends of the International Center is offering a number of its programs virtually, so if you are interested in any of the programs listed below, please email and indicate which program(s) you would like to join and links with passwords will be emailed to you.

Gus' Table
Zoom from 10 am to noon
(First and Third) Tuesdays 
Craft Circle
Zoom from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Wednesday Coffee
Zoom from 10 am to noon
Mommy, Daddy, and Me
email to request access
Friday Chat
Zoom from 10 am to noon


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

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.



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

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