Training for Staff and Departments

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) offers a variety of training options to help UMN colleges, departments, and staff work effectively with international students, scholars, and colleagues.

We offer these sessions for all UMN staff periodically throughout the semester, and we will also work with departments to create personalized training tailored to their unique needs. Our trainings range from sessions focusing on specific visa regulations to intercultural skills development and suggestions for advising international students.

If you have any questions or want more information, please email [email protected].

ISSS Intercultural Workshop Series

The Intercultural Workshop series combines intercultural competency and skills development workshops and "Culture In-Depth" sessions discussing the unique practices, customs, and values of some of the largest international student populations on our campus. Each session helps UMN staff members gain greater cultural self-awareness, an understanding of the contributions of international students, and communication skills to improve interactions and relationships with international students, staff, and faculty.

Participants must register for each session they wish to attend. PLEASE NOTE: While most of the sessions will be held virtually, one is in-person. Registrants should check Training Hub for the location.  Email [email protected] with any questions.

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Understanding International Student Experiences To Better Support Their Academic Journey

October 14, 2021
9:00 a.m.

Understanding the experiences of international students is an important first step to continue to build your intercultural skillset. In this session, we will learn what international students have said about their experiences both inside and outside the classroom through targeted listening sessions, survey results and individual interviews. As a group we will discuss ways to minimize barriers and maximize opportunities based on the student themes and feedback.

Learn more and register

Communicating with International Students

October 20, 2021
1:00 p.m.

When attempting to navigate new systems at the University of Minnesota, international students can be confused by the U.S. American approach to conversations, instructions, and explanations. Likewise, staff and faculty often wish they understood the cultural expectations and communication styles of international students, as well as had stronger skills in listening to accented English. This interactive workshop will be your opportunity to share, learn, and practice actionable approaches to communicating and connecting with international students, staff, and faculty (including those who are working in their second, or even third or fourth, language).

Learn more and register

Socially Just and Interculturally Inclusive Approaches to a Re-opened Campus

October 29, 2021
1:00 p.m.

The return to campus has been made by the majority of students and staff. As we readjust to working, studying and advising in person how do we implement the benefits of socially proximate activities, while retaining the benefits all of us learned during our virtual year. This session will draw on both the intercultural and social justice fields to help participants uncover opportunities for inclusion for all students as we return to campus.

PLEASE NOTE: This session will be held in person.

Learn more and register

Bridging Cultural Differences

November 12, 2021
9:00 a.m.

When interacting with those from around the world, an understanding of the relevant values of all participants will help to create positive connections. While it may be easy to adapt to obvious differences in eye contact or handshakes, it is more difficult to take actionable steps to address more hidden value differences, such as hierarchy or independence. Participating in this experiential workshop will allow you to identify problems or opportunities that stem from cultural value differences. As a result of this identification, you will be able to effectively connect with students and colleagues from different cultural backgrounds.

Learn more and register

Disruptive Practices for Interculturally Inclusive Communication 

November 22, 2021
10:00 a.m.

As we strive for a more socially just, equitable, and inclusive campus, there is an opportunity to revisit our ways of communicating and interacting across differences to create spaces of belonging for all.  Drawing on improvisational and language acquisition practices, this session will help participants explore and appreciate more equitable intercultural communication strategies. Building off this exploration, we will practice puckish techniques to flatten hierarchical systems while increasing overall comprehension and co-creative meaning making.

Learn more and register

Culture In-Depth: Chinese Students at the UMN

December 7, 2021
9:00 a.m.

Like many other higher education institutions across the U.S., the University of Minnesota has seen a significant increase in the size of our Chinese student population over the last ten years. Approximately half of the international students at the University are from China, and these students bring unique experiences and curiosity to our campus. During this workshop, a panel of Chinese students will share their personal stories about interactions on campus. From their discussion and other interactive exercises, you will learn about the academic choices Chinese students make and how unique aspects of Chinese culture (such as collectivism, face saving, and shame) impact the student experience. Walking away from this workshop, you will be better able to connect with Chinese students and help bring their talents and perspectives to the forefront in the classroom and student life.

Learn more and register

Other Training Options

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Introduction to International Student Advising

ISSS's adviser training is intended for new or seasoned academic advisers, Graduate Program Coordinators, career counselors, and student services staff who work with international students. It is offered twice a year:

  • The fall training focuses on the needs of undergraduate international students (Fall 2021 recording available now).
  • The spring training focuses on the needs of graduate international students.

Visa regulations are complex, and they can vary based on a student's academic level. We, therefore, strongly encourage staff to attend the session most applicable to the students they serve.

For More Information

Contact Beth Isensee at [email protected].

Inviting and Hosting International Scholars, Employees, and Student-Interns

ISSS periodically offers information sessions for department administrators regarding the process of inviting and hosting international scholars, employees, and student-interns. Visa information sessions which have been offered in the past and will be offered in future semesters include:

Hiring an H-1B Employee: The Basics

This introductory session will provide a general overview of the H-1B employment-based visa status. We will explain the role of the department, the employee, ISSS, and government agencies, and will include information about eligibility requirements, application procedures, required forms and documents, limitations of the H-1B and comparison to other visa types, and basic status maintenance requirements.

Presented by: Molly Hoffman and Mark Schneider

This training is available through an online module on Moodle. Access this course using the enrollment key immigration_training and click on the "About H-1B Visa" tab.

Applying for Permanent Residence: The Basics

This session will focus on the Labor Certification approach to Permanent Residence for tenure-track teaching faculty. We will discuss the role of the department, the employee, ISSS, and government agencies as well as application procedures and timelines. We will also give an overview of other employment-based avenues to green card for University appointments, including eligibility requirements and UMN sponsorship policies.

Presented by: Marissa Hill-Dongre and Mark Schneider

Hosting a J-1 Scholar: The Basics

Review the PowerPoint Slides

This introductory session will provide a general overview of the J-1 Scholar visa status. We will explain the role of the department, the scholar, ISSS, and government agencies, and will include information about eligibility requirements, application procedures, required forms and documents, health insurance policy, and basic status maintenance requirements.

Presented by: Julie Halfen and Stacey Buachart

Hosting a J-1 Student-Intern: The Basics

Review the PowerPoint Slides

This introductory session will provide a general overview of the J-1 Student-Intern visa status. We will explain the role of the department, the Student-Intern, ISSS, and government agencies, and will include information about eligibility requirements, application procedures, required forms and documents, limitations of the Student-Intern category and comparison to other visa types, health insurance policy, and basic status maintenance requirements.

Presented by: Betsy Madden and Stacey Buachart

Special Topics and Research

ISSS also offers a variety of workshops on work-related regulations, research on the international student experience, and other special topics upon request.

There are a variety of regulations (work authorizations, OPT, CPT, Permanent Residency, and more) that govern how international students can work in the United States before and after graduation. These regulations can be complex and vary based on an individual's visa type.

ISSS staff are available to present to UMN staff, faculty, and students about these regulations. These presentations can be tailored to the audience, and they can cover a range of issues including how to understand the regulations, what role ISSS plays in the application process, what reporting must be done, and more.

ISSS staff can also present on the cultural differences and barriers that can affect the job search process for international students.

Contact Dr. Betsy Madden at [email protected] for more information.

Culture Corps

The Culture Corps Program provides scholarship opportunities to international students who are here at the University of Minnesota and are willing to share their culture and their international student experience. Their intersectional identities provide the campus with a plethora of cultural knowledge and lived experiences that are crucial in the internationalizing efforts of your classroom, curriculum, programs, and departments.

Colleges and departments may recognize a need in serving their client population. Those needs can include areas such as:

  • Cultural differences dealing with the area of service your unit/department handles
  • Low engagement or outreach opportunities for international students in your area
  • Data based outcomes utilizing knowledge and lived experiences of international students
  • International Student Advisory boards
  • Specific cultural need such as reviewing marketing communication materials intended for international students and providing feedback for your programs
  • Assisting in your classroom needs, such as participating in live discussions with your classroom, providing presentations based on their culture and their professional experience, or sharing their perspectives through panels

Please contact [email protected] for more information.

Research on the International Student Experience

ISSS has worked with other departments on campus to conduct research and data collection efforts to deepen the understanding of the international student experience and engagement. For most of these studies, data breakdowns can be customized to your specific needs (such as by colleges, respondent’s country of origin, year of standing, etc.). ISSS staff can present or email this information upon request.

Contact Xi Yu at [email protected] for more information.

Last updated: November 9, 2021