International Student and Scholar Services

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is a university-wide resource assisting international students, scholars and their families while they are at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by providing social opportunities and logistical assistance. The office hosts a number of ongoing programs such as orientation for international students and scholars, a host family friendship program, an international women’s conversation group, tax seminars, and advising on acclimation to the United States and the U.S. system of higher education.

Elizabeth Barnum

Elizabeth Barnum, director of international student and scholar services, at the 2012 International Student Welcome Social. Photo by Donn Young

Visa and Immigration Assistance

ISSS provides assistance in obtaining and maintaining the appropriate immigration status for studying, researching or teaching at UNC. ISSS is the main administrative office and source of information for all immigration petitions and applications filed on behalf of the University to invite international students, research scholars and visiting professors. Our advisors provide counseling related to immigration matters; they serve as a liaison between international students and scholars and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of State, and other U.S. government agencies.

Community Services

The UNC Spouses and Partners Group is a group for spouses and partners of all international students, scholars, postdocs, visiting fellows and other affiliates of the University. The groups helps members develop a sense of belonging to UNC and adapt to their new surroundings while meeting other people from around the world.

The International Friendship Program matches international students with local families or individuals with whom they can visit, share a meal, celebrate a holiday, participate in community events or simply enjoy the exchange of international friendship. It can be difficult for international students to be separated from their families and friends, but the program provides an opportunity for them to learn about life in the U.S., meet new people and share their own cultures and customs.

The International Student Support Group is a weekly drop-in group for international students to discuss the transition to UNC. The group provides students with the opportunity to meet other international students, obtain support and guidance, and share their experiences.

English Language Opportunities

The office provides a list of some English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro. The International Women’s English Conversation Group also provides an opportunity for students, scholars and their accompanying spouses to immerse themselves in the English language.

The UNC Writing Center provides free services to speakers of English as a second language including writing groups, speaking groups, non-credit short courses, workshops and individual assistance. The UNC Writing Center has an online directory of language resources which also includes a list of private tutors.

Office of Student Affairs

Students are at the center of the Carolina community. To ensure a successful experience, students are encouraged to take advantage of a variety of programs and services that promote learning and development.

Student Affairs includes departments and offices such as: