Monthly Archives: February 2013

Seeking Amigo mentors for 2013–2014

My first year at Messiah College, I had the opportunity to be a part of the AMIGO mentoring program pilot year. Even though the program was in its infant stage the relationships between the voluntary mentors and mentees quickly flourished and is now, a year later, double in size.

The entire concept of the program revolves around the idea of constructing bonds between multicultural upper and underclass students in an open environment. Last year, as an incoming first-year student, it was nice to have someone to go to—someone already set apart that had an understanding of the place I found so unfamiliar.

Now I’m a mentor and can offer my understanding and experiences with those slowly finding their feet at Messiah. Sometimes life can get hectic at college (and when I write sometimes, I mean most of the time), so it’s nice having specific time carved out to talk to someone who may not already be grossly involved in every aspect of your life, having a third-party observer to process things with is one of my favorite aspects of the program. And at the end of the day there is an understanding that even though there are the titles of “mentor” and “mentee” in the relationship, it goes beyond that, and you know there is a solid friendship there.

—Amie Bantz, Amigo Mentor 2012

Applications for mentors are now being received and are due MARCH 8, 2013. Requirements and application on our website.

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2013 Intercultural Photo Contest

Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand

Have you had an intercultural experience in the past year (February 2012–February 2013) through one of Messiah’s many opportunities to engage the world at home and abroad?  Have some photos to show for it?  If so, this contest is for you!

Submit up to four (4) photographs in the following categories:

  • Transformative Learning 
  • Servant Leadership 
  • Engaging the World 
  • Embracing Diversity 

Submissions must have been taken during a Messiah-sponsored experience, such as:

  • Cultural events on or off campus;
  • Semester-long off-campus programs;
  • Cross-cultural courses;
  • Philadelphia Campus;
  • International service and mission teams (i.e., Collaboratory, Agapé Center, etc.).

Amazon gift cards will be awarded for first place ($50), second place ($25), and honorable mention ($15) in each category! Winning entries will also be displayed on the second floor of Larsen Student Union beginning in early April.

Complete the entry form on our website by Friday, March 1!

Learning Center tutors available for you

The Learning Center is now open! Appointments may be scheduled online via Self-Service Quicklinks on MCSquare.

The Learning Center has very capable tutors in the following subjects: biology, chemistry, nursing, philosophy, music theory, Spanish, French, German and education (PAPA exam). All tutors are able to assist with time management, note taking, test taking and reading, as well.

For further assistance, call ext. 7209 or come by the Learning Center, Hoffman 113C. It is open Monday through Thursday from 3–10 p.m. More information can also be found on the website: http://www.messiah.edu/academics/learning-center/index.html.

Sign up for a tutoring session online today!

Tax obligations (and assistance) for F-1 visa students

The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that you submit tax returns by April 15 each year (city and state tax offices generally use this same deadline).

To assist international students in filing their returns, accounting students from the Department of Management and Business at Messiah College offer free tax preparation services as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Services are provided every Wednesday evening from 6:30–9:30 p.m. in Frey 145 during February and March.

All international students, regardless of whether or not income was earned, are required to file IRS Form 8843 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8843.pdf).

All internationals students with an F-1 visa who receive any sort of income, including tuition reduction, scholarships, fellowships, grants, salaries, wages, stipends, interest, dividends, etc., from U.S. sources are also required to file income tax returns with federal, state, and city governments.

When filing tax returns, ensure that you …

  • Report all U.S. source income for the entire previous year (January 1 to December 31)
  • Calculate how much tax is owed on that income
  • At each of the three levels of government (local, state, federal), if you are owed money, request it. If you owe money, pay it. (Most internationals will either owe nothing or are owed money).

Please note that neither International Student Programs nor any other office at Messiah College can offer specific tax advice. It is your own responsibility to understand your tax obligations. Tax regulations can be very confusing, particularly for international students. Therefore, you should only rely on someone with proper training to assist you in filing.

For more information on federal taxes, visit www.irs.gov.

For more information on state taxes, visit www.revenue.state.pa.us.

For more information on local taxes, visit www.cumberlandtax.org.

Free employment advising for international students

On Monday, February 25, immigration attorney Art Serratelli will be at Messiah College to advise those of you interested in staying in the U.S. after graduation to work. Art specializes in all matters related to H-1B visas and can also provide insight for those interested in OPT (Optional Practical Training), both which permit non-U.S. citizens to work in the United States. Art will be available by appointment for 15-minute, one-on-one sessions throughout the day in Larsen 207 (the conference room just past the Intercultural Office). This service is free of charge.

Spots are limited so sign up quickly today. Go to SignUp Genius and enter access code OPT4ME. Choose a time slot that works for you and make note of it. Please try to arrive promptly for your appointment time.

For students wanting to gain practical work experience while still working toward their undergraduate degree, CPT (Curricular Practical Training) is an option. CPT permits F-1 visa students to work off campus through curricular-based internships. For those interested in learning more about CPT, Kevin Villegas, Director of International Student Programs, will host a session on the same day, Monday, February 25, in Boyer 134, at 7 p.m.

Welcome to the Intercultural Office Blog

For those of you who aren’t aware, the Epicenter is so last year (literally). That doesn’t mean Messiah has trapped students in Grantham and stopped sending them abroad, we’ve just made a few changes!

Last summer, the College merged four program areas—Education Abroad, International Programs, Multicultural Programs and International Student Programs—into one convenient location: the Intercultural Office. That’s us, and this is our blog.

Located on the second floor of the Larsen Student Union, the Intercultural Office is vibrant, colorful and welcoming. Within the office, you’ll find a plethora of information and an amazing staff to help you plan a study abroad or cross cultural experience, become involved with a variety of student clubs on campus, or, for international students, feel like you have a caring home away from home. Whatever your reason for coming to the Intercultural Office, we look forward to seeing you!

If the walk to the Intercultural Office is too much for you (no it’s not, we know you’re in the Union all the time), we created this blog where we will have the latest information concerning programs and events coordinated by Intercultural Office. Each of the four program areas within the Intercultural Office will be uploading posts and updating the blog regularly with content you’ll find interesting and useful!

We’re also hip with the times:
Like us on Facebook – Intercultural Office at Messiah College http://www.facebook.com/InterculturalOfficeAtMessiahCollege?fref=ts