Current International Students

Current International Students

Adjusting to your New Environment: 

  • Stay Interested and Open with the people you meet in your new environment and the experiences you have with them. 
  • Be interested in asking questions to understand them and be open so that they can ask questions to better understand you. 
  • Do not judge as good or bad or right or wrong.   
  • Become engaged on campus or in a cultural community off campus. 
  • Participate in campus groups or cultural activities that you would like to try or you know you will enjoy.

Studying away is both exciting and challenging.  There will be times that the challenges seem to outweigh the excitement.  At these times, you may find that you are homesick or feel distracted from your academic work and social group.  We recommend you share these feelings and talk to student mentors or staff in the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Academics:  Your responsibility to maintain your F-1 or J-1 status requires you to register as a full-time student (12 credits) per semester.  You are also responsible for maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.01 to remain in good academic standing overall.  NOTE:  Some programs may require a higher minimum GPA.  If you are having difficulty with your courses, seek advisement from resources available, such as the Learning Center, your advisor, or staff in the Office of Intercultural Affairs.

Advising:  Advisers are available to help you reach your educational goals.  Students should meet with their advisors, at least, once per semester to decide on courses and to get help understanding academic policies and procedures. See more information about the Advising Center.

Tutoring:  The Learning Center is available if you find that you need help with your studies.  Tutors and consultants are available in Math, Science, Writing and Study Strategies at the Learning Center.

Travel & Re-entry into the U.S.: Each international student should have a valid travel signature before leaving the U.S. All F1 and J1 international students should request the Travel Signature on iStart at least four (4) weeks before travel and wait for an approval email from Penn State Directorate of International Student and Scholar Advising (DISSA).

On-Campus Employment: You are allowed to work on campus part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during the semester and full-time during academic breaks and in the summer at Penn State Abington, click here.

The employment process is as follows:

  1. Apply for the on-campus job that you choose.
  2. If the employer chooses to hire you, request an offer of employment letter showing your start date.
  3. Log in to your iStart account, click “Letter Requests” and then “Social Security,” and fill out all the information.
  4. DISSA will write you a letter to take to the Social Security office to apply for a SSN.
  5. Once you receive your SSN, you can complete your employment paperwork and begin working.

Off-Campus Employment: International students have the option of working in the United States by engaging in practical training during your program or after it ends. Practical training can provide valuable work experience by sharpening and adding to the skills you are learning in school.

There are two types of practical training available for F-1 students: curricular practical training (CPT) and optional practical training (OPT). See Jose Rodriguez or Anyi Ye at 1 Lares for specifics on how to apply for CPT or OPT.

Leave of absence from Penn State Abington:  Students that require a leave of absence from their studies at Penn State Abington (for example:  mandatory military service), must complete a Leave of Absence form.  Forms can be found in the Scheduling Office 121 Sutherland.  There is the option to request an extension of the Penn State Access Account during the leave.  There is a monthly charge to extend access.

Resuming study at Penn State Abington after a Leave of Absence:  Students must provide their name and PSU ID# to the Registrar’s Office and the courses for the semester they wish to take upon return.  The Registrar’s Office will re-enroll the student until access to registration for the student is reinstated.  If a student did not file a Leave of Absence, the student should contact Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for further instructions to resume their studies at Penn State, Abington Campus.