Tips for International Newbies - USF Health

Tips for International Students
Welcome !
• International students from all over the world;
welcome to the University of South Florida College of
Nursing. It is important that you become familiar with
the college of nursing prior to your arrival to USF and
the commencement of your courses. Start your
orientation here, You will find video tutorials on how
to obtain your USF health email account, Blackboard
access, technical support information, and the College
of Nursing orientation for both undergraduate and
graduate student levels.
What To Wear
• In Tampa, you will experience hot, humid and
rainy weather in the summer and cold, dry
weather in the winter. You will need
appropriate clothing for each season. If you
are coming from a country that does not have
such a wide range of climatic conditions, you
may find it easier to purchase seasonal
clothing once you arrive. Reasonably priced
clothing can be purchased at locations close to
the university.
• Dress on campus is generally very casual with
an emphasis on comfort. USF has a very large
and active international community so you are
encouraged to bring your national costume with
you. There are a number of occasions,
especially during International Week in April,
when you may wish to wear clothing that
reflects your culture and heritage.
• Remember to bring all personal documents
including your driver's license, medical records,
and academic records.
English Proficiency
• All the lectures, teacher/student communications,
tests, and assignments are in English. You are
expected to have good command of the language
to be able to succeed in your courses. If English
is not your first language, you may find it useful
to attend an English Language Institute (ELI) in
your hometown or you can apply for admission
at the ELI here on USF campus. However,
enrollment in the ELI does not guarantee you
acceptance to the College of Nursing.
What is Blackboard?
• Blackboard is a web-based course-management
system designed to allow students and faculty to
participate in classes delivered online or use
online materials and activities to complement
face-to-face teaching. Blackboard enables
instructors to provide students with course
materials, discussion boards, virtual chat, online
quizzes, an academic resource center, and more.
It is used extensively at the College of Nursing.
Blackboard Continued..
• The degree to which Blackboard is used in a
course varies. For example, instructors may
supplement an on-campus class by putting their
syllabus and handouts on their course sites. In
contrast, other courses may be conducted entirely
through Blackboard, without any on-campus
sessions. If you are enrolled in a course that uses
Blackboard, be sure to find out how Blackboard
will be used in that course.
• On the first day of classes you are expected to
come prepared, review your course syllabus,
purchase the required text books, review
announcements made by your course instructor
or teaching assistant, and you may have
assignments already posted on Blackboard. If you
do not have Blackboard access, you may fall a
little behind; to avoid that, find here how to
access your Blackboard.
Florida Nursing License
• Admission to the graduate nursing school at USF
requires evidence of current Florida RN license
in good standing. You will not be able to enroll
in any clinical courses without proof of Florida
nursing license. Obtaining a Florida nursing
license is a multi-step process which goes like
Step #1
1. If you were educated in a foreign country, you
are required to have a full education course-bycourse credentials review by a Florida
Department of Health (DOH) approved
credentialing agency: follow the hyperlink for
more information. You must note that the
report may take several months to complete, so
apply to the agency of your choice as soon as
Step #2
Apply to the Florida Board of Nursing for RN nursing
license. Read the instructions carefully and complete
the Application for Nursing Licensure by Examination
form at the end of the document, or you may also apply
online with a credit card at:
.asp. Once your nursing licensure application is
received by the Florida Board of Nursing, you will
receive a notification letter to confirm it, however, your
application will not be processed until the application
fee, proof of your English proficiency (page 8 of the
instructions booklet), and your full education courseby-course credentials review report are received by the
Board. Note: all reports must be submitted directly by
the issuing agencies.
Step #3
In addition to applying for licensure with the Board of
Nursing, you are required to register for the NCLEX
test. Once your license application is complete, the
Florida Board of Nursing may take up to 30 days to
respond to you. You will then be notified in writing of
the status of you application. If a written approval is
received from the Board Office, you will then have to
register with Pearson VUE for the NCLEX test. Refer
to page 11 on the instructions booklet for more
information on the NCLEX examination. Read the
NCLEX examination candidate bulletin for test related
information very carefully. You can find the most
recent bulletin on Pearson VUE website at:
Step #4
4. Schedule your NCLEX test.
Pearson VUE will issue an Authorization to
Test (ATT) for you after they confirm the
Board approval. The ATT will be mailed to you
or sent via e-mail depending on your choice of
After you receive your ATT, you can then
schedule your NCLEX examination date and
time on Pearson VUE website. You must have
your ATT document with you the day of your
NCLEX exam; without it, you will be turned
away and required to schedule a new test date.
Step #5
5. After you complete your NCLEX exam, you
will be notified of your test results, and if you
pass, you will receive your nursing license by
mail. Once you receive your Florida RN
license, you are required to provide a copy to
Admissions at the College of Nursing at USF.
Obtaining a Social Security
Number (SSN)
• A Social Security Number is often required to
open a bank account, obtain car insurance, etc. If
you do not have a United States Social Security
Number, you are required to obtain one prior to the
issuance of a permanent Florida nursing license.
Only certain non-U.S. citizens can obtain a SSN.
• Instructions are given here for F-1 and J-1
visa holders. If you hold a different visa,
you should consult your USF international
student advisor at the International Student
and Scholar Services (ISSS) for more
F-1 visa and J-1 visa holders
• Social Security Number (SSN) is issued to F-1
and J-1 visa holders only if they actually have an
on-campus job, or if they have a firm promise of
a job on-campus which will begin soon.
• The Social Security Office can be found at:
3415 E Frontage Rd
Tampa, FL 33607-7009
• Tel. (813) 225-7304
To obtain SSN
1. Secure employment with USF
2. Obtain an employment offer
letter from employer.
This should state:
• The name of the student
• The name of the employer
• The start date of employment.
3. Bring your employment letter to International Affairs for
a supporting letter. It may take up to a week to produce
this letter. Complete the SS-5 application form at the
Social Security website.
SSN Continued..
4. Take the following documents to the
Social Security office:
a) Completed SS-5 application form
b) Valid passport
c) I-94 card
d) I-20 ID or DS-2019
e) Employer's letter
f) Letter from International Affairs
g) Employment Authorization Document (EAD) - if
It takes about 2 weeks to issue SSN, once you receive
your card by mail, provide a copy to the Florida
Board of Nursing so you can receive your
permanent nursing license.
Register for Courses
– In order to register for courses, you should
know the subject and the course number.
If you only know the subject of the course;
• Go to
• Click on “class schedule search, student” on
the left of the screen (it’ll take you to
• Enter all the information about the class you have
and follow the directions.
• At the end you should be able to get the information
about course number, subject and section
» example: NUR (subject) 4455 (course) 001
Register for Courses cont’
If you know the subject and the course number;
Go to
Oasis Login
Follow the steps to login
Go to “Student” option from the top menu, then select
“registration”, “register or drop classes”, “select a
term”, and then “submit”.
Follow the instruction to add/drop courses
Once you’re done registering for courses, your next
step is to pay for tuition and fees and attend classes.
Buy Your Books
• To check the required books for a course, go to
• Under your customized textbook list, follow the steps and
select term, department, course, section.
• After clicking on “add course” on the right side of the
page, you will see the added course number.
• Add all courses, click on “view all textbook list” and
you’ll have the list of required or recommended textbooks
for your courses with the USF bookstore prices.
Tip: study guides are almost never used, to save money –
buy only the textbook. If not sure whether you need any
book or not – e-mail the course instructor.
Buy Your Books cont’
• There are several ways to buy your textbooks:
– Buy from the USF book store – easy and fast
– Buy online – takes up to 3 weeks to deliver, could be
significantly cheaper. Some useful websites:
– Buy e-book
• Instant delivery
• Sold with or without hard copy text books
• Very useful for making study guides
• Convenient search options
• Always accessible through the computer
Buy Your Books cont’
• If you are limited financially – you can opt to buy
an older edition of the required text books.
– Will cost a fraction of the new edition’s price
– Might not have same chapter numbers
– Might lack some material
– In most cases is sufficient for reference use
Buy Required Stuff
Laptop computer (optional)
White uniform (nursing scrubs)
White laboratory coat
Nursing software for PDA
Buy Required Stuff
• Laptop computer
– You’ll need a computer. If you do not have
one, you can use computers in the library or
the computer lab on the second floor of the
College of Nursing (when available).
– Laptop will make your study more productive
– You can buy one from: USF computer store
(, nearby
Staples (, online etc.
– If you buy it before coming to the US – make
sure it has wireless card, you’ll be able to use
free wireless internet connection anywhere on
USF campus.
Buy Required Stuff
• Uniform and lab coat
White uniform is required
Check with USF Health book store
Buy online/ google it
Buy in the University square mall (take bus D
• Suggested brand Littman
– Can buy it in USF bookstore
– Shop online/ google it
– Buy in uniform store
“Nursing Central” software
• Required for all undergraduate USF nursing
• Includes information on disease, drug guide,
medical dictionary
• Buy it online or in USF bookstore
• Check it at
• It can be used on iPhone, iPod touch, Palm PDA
and other devices. See the website.
Shopping Tips
– Where to buy groceries
• Sweetbay
• Publix
• Wal-Mart
– Where to eat – walking distance from campus
• Check the Marshall Center food court, (take bus route B from
the College of Nursing) there are several small restaurants
• Moffitt Cancer Center cafeteria – the building is next to the
Health Sciences Center (HSC) building
• Panera Bread
• Chipotle Mexican grill
• Einstein Bros’ bagels
• Evos
• USF book store
• Burger king
Shopping Tips cont’
• Tip: if you are not familiar with American food
and restaurant chains, it is a good idea to look at
their websites before going so you can get an idea
about the prices and type of food they serve.
• To find the directions to the place – go to Google
maps or, enter your
location, see the map.
• You can buy just about everything online and
have it safely delivered to your address as long as
you have valid credit or debit card.
Study Tips
• Teachers always post PowerPoint prior to the lecture – check it
• Make notes during the lecture (on the printed Power Points or on
your computer)
• Attend all lectures
 It is very Important, during the lectures teachers often give
tips on what kind of questions will be on the test.
• Record lectures
 Most teachers make their test questions based on Power Points
and lecture – listen to the lecture several times and study
PowerPoint, it will be very helpful in preparation for your
• Use textbooks as a reference
 You’ll find yourself very busy during the semester, do not try
to read all the chapters, read books if you don’t understand
something in the PowerPoint or if teacher suggests to read a
particular chapter
Study Tips cont’
• Make study guides, they will help you get organized,
and they are useful for the final comprehensive test.
• Pay attention to review questions. If teachers say to pay
attention to review questions – they mean it. You’ll find
those questions on the test.
• Form or join a study group, It makes it easier and faster
to make study guides if you work in group with several
of your classmates.
• Write an e-mail to the teacher if you need any
clarifications. Teacher’s e-mail and phone number can
be found on Blackboard under the course syllabus.
Teachers are very helpful and respond within 24 hours.
• Don’t be shy to dispute the grade if you think that your
answer was correct. You might get some points back.
Study Tips cont’
• Review every test
– You can request a review after every test.
– Very helpful to further understand the material
– If there is no class exam review – write an email to the
teacher and arrange for an appointment to review.
– Some of your missed questions can appear on the
comprehensive final test.
• Seek help if you think that you are not doing well
– Write an e-mail to the teacher and make an appointment
– Do not wait until the end of the semester
– Ask about tutoring options
Study Tips cont’
• Group tutoring
– Organized by the faculty
– Free for students
– Taught by fellow students
– Might be helpful if you need further explanation of
the material
– The date, time, and place usually announced through
e-mail. Ask the teacher for more information
• Internet connection
– You’ll need it constantly during the study
– All USF buildings have free wireless connection
– You can find wireless connection in some coffee
shops and restaurants (Panera Bread, Starbucks…)
Open a Bank Account
• As a new student, the easiest bank account to
open would be with the USF Federal Credit
• The credit union is located in the
Marshall center on campus.
• For more information on the
services rendered at the credit union,
go to
• You need only your USF student ID Card to open
an account and a deposit of $25.
Get Vaccinated
• Florida law requires that all students be
immunized against certain communicable
diseases like measles, hepatitis B, meningitis, etc.
• Failure to comply with immunization
requirements will result in the placement of a
registration hold on your student account.
• Every new student needs to be immunized or
submit proof of immunization if already received.
This is done at Student Health Services (SHS).
Get Vaccinated cont’
• SHS is located near Marshall center next to the
USF bookstore.
• For more information on immunization, go to
• If you get sick, go to the Student Health Services
(SHS), located next to the USF bookstore or call
the number on your health insurance card.
• In case of emergency, call 911.
Health Insurance for
International Students
• Health insurance is mandatory for all
international students at USF.
• Failure to pay the premium can result in you
being dropped from the courses.
• The student health services (SHS) insurance
office assists all international students in
complying with the health insurance mandate.
• For more information go to,
Find a place to live
• There is a wide range of living options for students who
wish to live on campus.
• It is important to choose the type of housing that best fits
your needs.
• For more information go to
• The different styles available on campus are as follows:
Traditional-style living
Apartment-style living
Suite-style living
Greek Housing
Find a Place to Live cont’
• You can sign up online for the on-campus
housing of your choice a few months prior to the
beginning of the semester.
• The university will notify you when you can sign
• You have the option to sign up for a short-term
(one semester) stay, or a long-term (two
semesters) stay.
• Check on for a list of
what you can bring and what is not allowed.
Find a Place to Live cont’
• There are also a number of housing locations outside USF
campus depending on your choice.
• However, new students are usually advised to live on
campus to allow for easy and smooth transition.
• Some of the off-campus apartments are located on the
route of the Bull Runner C (USF Shuttle). This makes it
easier to get home from school. Especially those located
on 42nd and 46th street.
• There are also apartments located in areas close to USF.
• For more information on off-campus housing, go to
• For those without cars, free shuttle
transportation is available on USF campus.
• You will need the campus map to help you in navigating
and getting around campus.
• For more information about the bull runner (USF Shuttle)
schedule, route, and campus map, go to
• The ride is free for USF students.
• You only need to show your USF student ID Card to the
driver as you enter the bus.
• The route of Bull Runner D passes through the shopping
areas around USF campus.
Transportation cont’
• However, the USF Shuttle only goes to a limited number
of places off-campus.
• Thus, you will need an alternative means of transportation
to get to your clinical sites. E.g. Hillsborough Area
Transit (HART) City Bus.
• The HART bus travels to many corners of Tampa and can
be very helpful in getting to your clinical sites.
• For information on the HART bus schedule go to,
• You can use the link to get the bus schedule, route, and
Transportation cont’
• The link will also give you the
approximate commute time.
• Transportation with HART Bus is free for USF students.
• You only need to show your USF student ID Card to the
driver as you enter the bus.
• You can also buy the bus schedule booklet at the
University Transit Center, which is located very close to
Wal-Mart on East Fletcher Avenue.
• The booklet cost is $1.
Cultural Differences
• All the stereotypes you may have about Americans might
not be true
• Even the true ones cannot be generalized
• You may find most Americans requiring more personal
• Shaking hands when you first meet are not common and
if any are momentary
• You need to be more assertive and speak out on your own
• Eye contact is not sign of disrespect, but instead an
indication of openness.
• You must be time sensitive. Being late for
classes/appointments for more than 10 minutes can be
considered rude.
In The End
We hope that you found this presentation
helpful, and we wish you a pleasant
journey and a successful learning
experience here at the College of Nursing,
University of South Florida.
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