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Shuyi and friends posing with the Canadian flag.

Before everyone came to campus for Orientation, I was at International Students Pre-Orientation with all my fellow international students. From the first meeting, where Dartmouth's Office of Visa and Immigration Services (OVIS) talked about the special laws we as international students had to abide by, it was made clear that we had to be aware of some extra laws and tasks as international students. During my first week at Dartmouth, I was initially overwhelmed by all the things that we were told to do. However, I am happy to report that two months later, I have worked an on-campus job, received my social security number, checked in with all the appropriate offices and have managed to stay away from trouble!

All of this would not be possible without the amazingly helpful resources that Dartmouth offers international students, whether that's the aforementioned OVIS, my international student mentor, or the various other offices and students who are always there to support me. My quest for a social security number (SSN) started with a visit to OVIS, where they told me the exact steps I had to take to obtain one. With the help of OVIS, I printed all the appropriate documents and had them checked. From there, I emailed my boss to ask if she could write an employment letter for me, and she replied back that she had already written one!

With all my documents in hand, I got on a bus provided by Dartmouth and rode to the Social Security Office in Concord, New Hampshire, where I filed my application. Although the bus ride was long, it was fun to catch up with all the international students I had met at pre-orientation. Just like me, they had navigated this complicated process with the help of all the resources Dartmouth offers. A week later, my SSN came in the mail! Although the process involved a lot of steps, there was always someone ready to tell me where I had to go or what I had to do.

A picture of my social security card with a beautiful Dartmouth backdrop
A picture of my social security card with a beautiful Dartmouth backdrop!

Once I received my SSN, I brought it to Dartmouth's payroll office. When I asked how I would get paid for my work on campus, the lady told me that checks would be put in my mailbox. It was at this moment that I realized the checks were the weird pieces of green paper that I kept throwing away, thinking they were advertisements! Thankfully, I once again got the help I needed, as I was given forms to void the checks that were now in the compost and receive new ones. Ripping up my hard-earned money is just one of the many mistakes I've made at Dartmouth, but the support I have here makes me feel welcome and secure.

In the spirit of paying it forward, please reach out to me if you have any questions about being an international student!

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