What is ISI about?

International Student Inc (ISI) serves international students, scholars, and their families in Charlottesville… helping them adjust to their new setting and make American friends.

ISI is a Christian organization and you will see by attending our events that students from all religious backgrounds, all ethnic groups, all countries are welcome and become active participants in ISI. We hope you will be one of them.

We organize fun activities and trips, offer bible discussion groups, and free dinners. We provide a sensitive and caring community where friendships can thrive.

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Cell Phone Scam

Be careful not to be scammed when making a deal through Craigslist or email.  Here’s a note I received from my friend today.  He is a UVA grad student:

My friend broke her phone several weeks ago.  I saw an email from someone selling a phone, so I forwarded this email to her to see if she is interested. It turned out she decided to buy this phone, so we met that guy and paid him in cash. However, when we came home, we found out the iPhone cannot be activated because it is reported lost and locked. It means this phone might be stolen from others and we cannot use it anymore.  We tried to contact him. His phone number is listed as unknown so I cannot call back. Then I emailed him, he said he would give me the Apple ID and password to unlock the phone soon. But I did not get any message from him since then. We have called the police, Apple, and AT&T to help, but got no response yet.

Housing: Finding a Place to Live near UVA

Are you looking for information about how to find the best room or apartment near UVA?  Here are the details about “on grounds” and “off grounds” housing…

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When and How Much to Tip at a restaurant or in other situations

When do Americans tip?  How much?  You might be surprised at the differences between American tipping habits and those of your own home culture.  Get the quick answers right here: http://www.bbcamerica.com/anglophenia/2012/08/tipping-in-america-how-to-do-it-and-what-to-expect-if-you-dont

TRUE Leadership

Just wanted to share a little something I wrote about our TRUE Leadership Retreat.. Comments welcome


TRUE Leadership

Volunteer with ISI

Help other internationals have a great transition to the US! Say “thank you” by making ISI better! …

Get involved by volunteering and leading in the ISI group — ISI runs best when students are involved and there are lots of ways you can be involved more than just showing up to events. There’s a team of students who are looking for volunteers to help with events, computer expertise with our various web communication tools, photography, and many other possibilities. See the form below to sign up to be a volunteer or email us for more info on getting involved.

  • Be a greeter — you’ll be the first welcoming face at an ISI event and make sure each newcomers don’t “slip through the cracks” and get overlooked
  • Be a driver — help get students to ISI events, pick new students up from the airport, help with rides to Walmart… after all, Cville is a difficult place to navigate without a car!
  • Help with Set-up and Clean-up — make sure ISI events run smoothly by helping with all the set-up that’s involved
  • Contribute News Articles to the ISI website — tell everyone how much fun that last ISI trip was or update the ISI community with important info
  • Share Your Pictures — be the great photographer that you are and then share your photos on our Flickr site or on Facebook

Where can I find inexpensive dental work?

“I have a toothache–I know what I would do in my home country, but what’s the best way to handle this situation while here in the U.S.?  Where can I get inexpensive dental care?” 

Many students have asked me similar questions.  Unfortunately there is not a good alternative that will allow you to get cheap dental work. 

The school of dentistry at MCV in Richmond does offer some lower-priced work (maybe 40%-50% less).  The work is done by dental students, and they generally do a great job because the quality of their work is being evaluated by instructors.  Here are some possible problems with this option:

  • as of the last time I checked, they do not work with filling cavities.  They do offer extraction (pulling the tooth out entirely).  
  • it is very difficult to get a space in their schedule. 
  • you would probably need to drive to Richmond twice… once to schedule the appointment and once to get the work done.

My dentist is Dr. Thomas Starkey 434-973-2224.  His clinic does excellent work, and they make the experience very comfortable.  There are around 100 dental practices in Charlottesville.  If you have one cavity, I would guess that you might have to pay about $150.  All the dental practices have similar prices.  Be aware that their schedules are usually pretty full, so you might have to wait a couple of weeks before your appointment.

Some students opt to wait to receive treatment when they return home during UVA’s winter or summer break.  I do not think this is a good option for most people because waiting can allow the problem to become much worse.  If it gets bad enough and you find yourself unable to work or study, you may end up having to get dental work immediately, and then you would have to pay much more because the problems have become more advanced.

Dental insurance policies are available for purchase.  In some cases, there is not a long waiting period before coverage becomes effective.  In some cases you might even find out you have the dental problem, and then buy insurance before receiving treatment.