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For international students: What resources have proved most helpful for you as a Dartmouth student? How have OVIS or other campus departments supported you in your transition to Dartmouth?

A: Adrian Chimboza '25

If you're an international student considering Dartmouth, you're probably wondering what resources are available to help you navigate this exciting but challenging journey. Trust me, I had the same concerns when I made the leap from Harare, Zimbabwe to Hanover, New Hampshire. So, let's dive in and unpack the wealth of support that Dartmouth provides.

Office of Visa and Immigration Services (OVIS): Your First Stop

If you're like me, coming from Zimbabwe, dealing with visa and immigration issues can be daunting. OVIS is not just a department, but a community of people passionate about helping you make your American educational dream a reality. They provide exhaustive informational packets, one-on-one counseling sessions, and even offer seminars specifically targeted at clearing the fog around the U.S. immigration system. Before even setting foot on campus, I attended a virtual meeting where the OVIS team explained how to prepare for a visa interview. Once here, their quarterly check-ins and newsletters keep me up-to-date with changes in U.S. immigration law.

Academic Advising: More Than Just Course Selection

The beauty of Dartmouth's academic advising lies in its personalized approach. Not only did my advisor help me select courses, but they also guided me through Dartmouth's unique D-Plan, considering my long-term academic goals and potential challenges that could arise from being an international student. They made sure I understood the resources available for academic support, such as free tutoring services, writing centers, and even faculty office hours. Their expertise is specially tuned to understand the educational system's nuances that an international student may find confusing.  

International Student Programs and Events: A World in Itself

When I first arrived, I was welcomed by a specialized International Student Orientation program. Here, Dartmouth goes beyond the usual orientation fare. You're briefed about U.S. culture, academic expectations, and even mundane but vital things like how to set up a bank account or use public transport. It was like a crash course in "Surviving and Thriving in the U.S." But the support doesn't stop there. Throughout the year, there are international dinners featuring cuisine from around the globe, monthly international coffee hours, and even trips designed to give you a taste of American culture, from city excursions to nature hikes.

Career Services: Building Your Future

Career services go way beyond just helping you polish your résumé. I was pleasantly surprised by their range of services tailored for international students. From workshops on how to write cover letters and resumes that resonate with U.S. employers to mock interviews with real-time feedback, their support is thorough. Furthermore, they have annual career fairs where international employers come to recruit, and they even have resources to help you understand the U.S. job market's nitty-gritty details.

Identity Clubs: Dartmouth African Students Association (DASA) and Beyond

The Dartmouth African Students Association (DASA) has been more than just a club for me; it's been a family. We hold regular meetings to discuss how to make Dartmouth more inclusive and how to better represent Africa in the broader community. We also collaborate with other identity clubs on events, which has allowed me to learn about other cultures while sharing my own. DASA also holds annual events, like Africa Week, where we showcase African cultures through food, dance, and panel discussions. For someone far from home, having this community has been a cornerstone in making Dartmouth feel like home too.

Library and Research Resources: An Intellectual Paradise

Dartmouth's libraries are not just rooms full of books; they're hubs of academic exploration. Each library often focuses on specific academic areas, offering not just texts but also online databases, periodicals, and even antique manuscripts. As an international student, I've found resources about African politics and history that I hadn't even heard of. Plus, librarians are always willing to guide you through your research journey, whether you're looking for specific data sets or obscure articles. It's a holistic approach to academic support that's unmatched.

The Dartmouth Experience: Crafting Your Unique Journey

Dartmouth's allure doesn't just lie in the individual resources but in how these resources are woven into a tight-knit, supportive community. Departments, centers, and student organizations work in a symbiotic relationship to ensure that each Dartmouth student, especially international students, have a rewarding and inclusive experience. It's a comprehensive ecosystem that helps you not just survive but thrive.

I hope this extended guide gives you a deeper insight into Dartmouth's incredible support network for international students like you and me. See you around campus soon!

For more information visit,

Office of Visa and Immigration Services (OVIS)

Office of Pluralism and Leadership (OPAL)

Dartmouth Library

Student Groups & Activities

Undergraduate Deans Office

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