To International and Exchange Students, Teaching Assistants, and U.S. Students from Abroad who participated in Early Arrival,

Greetings from ISSS!

We write with a warm hello and to check in. We have wanted to reach out to you for some time now, yet our attention has been on time-sensitive issues that demanded our full attention. Going forward, we anticipate sending ISSS updates more regularly. This one acknowledges the times we are in, provides ISSS news, and highlights available campus resources. We encourage you to read the full message.

We know that everyone is adjusting to new routines, including ISSS, which moved to remote operation as of March 19. In the hectic last moments on campus with you in mid-March, it was challenging to find time to pause and breathe, as you made decisions about where you would spend the next few weeks. From our vantage point in ISSS, we were, and still are, continually amazed to witness your demonstration of community, resilience, and determination.

We are experiencing a disruption of a scope and proportion that we likely will not clearly realize until we are on the other side of this pandemic. When the College implemented the precautionary measures around the COVID-19 virus, it instantly stirred so many feelings. The most common, though, was that of uncertainty. It is surrounding each of us in a very vivid way. Under these conditions, it is more important than ever before to stay connected with others.

When so many of you took advantage of the additional ISSS drop-in hours March 11-13, lingered in the lobby to support one another, and shared ideas and concerns, it was an opportunity for us to witness the hope and strength in our community. It was our way to counter the sense of uncertainty.

ISSS appreciates that nearly every international and exchange student, U.S. student living abroad, and teaching assistant on campus showed up in the ISSS lounge, not only to obtain travel signatures and address other concerns, but also simply to be together during these uncertain times. We also connected with many students who were studying abroad. We were glad to meet with you then, and ISSS continues to be available to connect with you from afar.

While ISSS has decided not to hold regular drop-in hours at this time, we are available for one-on-one appointments via Zoom or phone. We also plan to offer topic-specific Zoom sessions.

ISSS recognizes that you have many questions at this time, particularly about your visa status, eligibility for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) this summer, and more. We have updated the ISSS COVID-19 FAQ page with recent information from U.S. government agencies, and we intend to expand the FAQs in the coming weeks. Check it out!

Other important campus resources are also still available, yet you will access them differently.

  • On March 31, VP of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Baishakhi Taylor sent you a Student Life Remote Resources Guide. We encourage you to take a few minutes to review it.
     
  • Our colleagues in the Center for Careers & Internships (CCI) are eager to connect with students remotely. Contact them for guidance about your future, including internships, post-graduation options, and more.
     
  • After your first week of remote coursework, we hope you find some comfort in restarting your classes, knowing you are reconnecting with classmates and faculty. Remember there are support services for this transition, too. The DLINQ Interns are ready to assist students in this new learning experience. Contact them at dlinqinterns@middlebury.edu, and visit https://dlinq.middcreate.net/remote-student/.

As we close this message, ISSS recognizes that the situation we find ourselves in is a very human, very personal experience for everyone. We each carry concern for the people who are most important to us, and for our broader global community. Some of us are unable to be physically present with those we care so much about. This adds additional stress and concern. Be sure to explore ways to safely remain connected with family and friends. Most important, remember to take care of yourself—your physical, mental, and social/emotional well-being, and know that you have access to resources for this, too. You can count ISSS as one more resource in this effort. We are glad to assist with issues that arise or with referrals, as needed.

We eagerly await the moment when we may welcome you in-person back to campus. Until then, know that we will continue to keep you in our thoughts, and we look forward to connecting with you soon.

 

Best wishes for continued good health for you and your families,

Kathy Foley
Associate Dean and Director of ISSS

On behalf of the ISSS Team: Kelly O’Connell, Christy Fry, Kas Singh, Loren Scott, and Carolyn Dahm