Category Archives: Uncategorized

December updates from ISSS


OIA Office hours- winter break

During portions of winter break the OIA office will be closed. If you need assistance during these days, send an email to We will periodically check this mailbox. Please plan accordingly.

OIA will be closed December 23, 2012 – January 2, 2022

We will reopen on our normal schedule on January 3, 2022.

OIA will be available during normal business hours (9am -5 pm, Monday through Friday). The OIA office is located in Falk Hall, on the lower level (across from the Chatham copy center).

You can contact us at or by phone at +1 412 365 1388.

 To set up meetings please contact the appropriate individual:


A reminder: ALL F and J students must report to OIA:  

  • Change of address within 10-days. This must be kept up-to-date on your SEVIS record.
    • Changing your address in Portal or MyChatham does not update your SEVIS record. You must update OIA directly.
  • Change of Program- including change of Major, adding a second Major, or a minor.
  • If your program end date is different than what is listed on your I-20. You must report this as soon as possible to update the I-20. * If you will be graduating in December, please double check your I-20!
  • Change of name.
  • If you plan to apply for CPT you must do so BEFORE you begin the internship or training experience. This includes paid and unpaid positions.
  • If you will be graduating, and plan to apply for OPT, please contact OIA as soon as possible. OPT applications can take 2-4 months to process by USCIS.

You can report the above information through email.

Spring Enrollment Reminders: Registration for Spring 2022 is currently open. Please register as soon as possible. If you are not fully registered by add/drop your F1 status may be terminated. If you are eligible for a reduced course load, please contact OIA.

As a reminder in order to maintain your F-1 or J-1 student status, you must be enrolled as full-time student.  This means:

  • If you are an undergraduate- enrolled for at least 12 credits.
  • If you are a graduate student- enrolled for at least 9 credits.

Classes start January 5, 2022. The add/drop deadline is January 12, 2022.

Questions about registration? Check out the FAQ’s on MyChatham.

*If you have a hold on your student account, you will not be eligible to register for Spring classes. Please log into Portal to check your Account status. If there is a hold, take care of it now so that you do not have problems registering for Spring 2022

Other updates:

Please visit the  Chatham Covid-19 Response website, for university updates. Chatham provides weekly updates regarding operations and policies surrounding our covid-19 response.

Are you missing any required immunizations? Make an appointment at the Allegheny County Health Department Immunization Clinic.  The clinic offers immunizations for all the required Chatham vaccines. They accept many insurances and are conveniently located in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Travel updates! Updated as of December 16, 2021. (please read)

Be cautious traveling- both within the United States, and internationally:

At this time, we recommend students limit all non-essential travel, especially if you are not fully vaccinated. If you do need to travel, either internationally or out of Pennsylvania, you are responsible for following local, state, and national guidance. You may have to quarantine, or test for covid-19 before or after travel.

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, travel guidance can change frequently, and students should follow-up with their travel agents, airlines, and the country resources for where they travel.

Refer to guidance from the CDC, US State Department travel advisories and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for specific port-of-entry screening processes, as well as any travel restrictions.

Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some COVID-19 variants.

Recently the US government updated their travel policies for entry to the United States, and recommendations for covid-19 testing and quarantine.

All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 1 day before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight to the United States.

Effective November 8, 2021, all non-immigrant, non-citizen air travelers* to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated for covid-19 and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to the United States.

The CDC has also updated their recommendations, and those who are fully-vaccinated will not need to quarantine upon entry to the United States. It is recommended that international travelers take a covid-19 test 3-5 days after arrival in the United States.

If you are not-fully vaccinated, and are eligible for an exception to enter the United States, you will be required to quarantine for at least 7-days.

Chatham University follows CDC guidance, which includes:

Spring Entry Testing 

In alignment with CDC guidance, Chatham will require spring entry term testing for any student or employee (vaccinated or unvaccinated) traveling internationally before coming to campus on 1.3.

If you are traveling internationally over the winter break, please contact Student Health Services to discuss and schedule your spring entry testing prior to coming to campus or on 1.3 or 1.4.

Please remember that Spring 2022 semester begins on January 5, 2022. If you travel internationally or domestically, please be aware of when you need to return for classes.

 Covid-19 Testing resources when departing the United States

You may need a negative covid-19 test in order to engage in international travel. A map of local testing locations is available on the Allegheny County’s website. You should plan testing carefully to make sure you meet any travel requirements to board your flight or enter the destination country. Please check with your travel agent, or the consular operations of your destination country for specific requirements.

Some testing locations may offer free testing, others may charge you. We recommend checking the location for their requirements. You can receive a covid-19 test at many local pharmacies, doctors’ offices, or testing sites.

The Curative van travels around the county weekly offering testing. The van schedule is updated every Monday for the week:


I-20 Travel Signatures

If you will travel internationally, please check page 2 of your current I-20 for a travel signature from a DSO. Travel signatures are good for 1 year. If you do not have a signature, or the one you have is more than a year old, please contact OIA to set up an appointment for a travel signature. Be aware of our upcoming office closure!

Resources for Immigration

The Department of Homeland Security offers a free resource to provide information on the rules and regulations for F-1 students in the United States:

The Department of State provides J-1 Exchange Visitor’s with information on their programs at:


Covid-19 Information:


Center for Disease Control (CDC):

Allegheny County information:

If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Please check your Chatham email frequently to see all messages from OIA and Chatham University.

Have a wonderful holiday season and see you in the new year!


“Gratitude to Chatham University” by Tamim Adnan


This is Tamim. I’m from Bangladesh. I completed my Bachelor of Science in Building Engineering and Construction Management, from Khulna University of Engineering and Technology (KUET). Now, I’m planning to go for my PhD program in Infrastructures and Environmental Systems at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte (UNC Charlotte). I will work as a graduate research assistant under the supervision of professor Dr. Don Chen. I was a student for English Learning Program at Chatham University in Summer 2020. I joined the program mainly from enthusiasm to improve my English while this program added a new milestone in my academic skill sets. When I completed my applications to US universities, most of them noticed on my transcript what Chatham University awarded me for this program. So, I’m really grateful for being a part of this ELP program at Chatham University.


Firstly, thanks to Dr. Linh Phung and Professor Sylvia for their cooperative teaching and guidance to us. Secondly, thanks to my classmates in the program from Japan, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia. Moreover, when the COVID – 19 pandemic was inflicting everyone mentally, this program helped me to overcome some issues I faced.


Dr. Linh always suggests that I should speak slowly as she thinks the intention of speaking faster lowers the confidence of speaking. I always follow her tips when I need to have any conversations with Professors, Visa Officers, and International Staff. In addition, Miss Sylvia helped me a lot to improve my writing. She always suggested some memorable places, movies and events particularly related to Pittsburgh. I always miss those days and feel good when I remember these moments.


After the ELP program I completed my Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and started to email professors in the US universities targeting the Fall 2021 session. Fortunately, Dr. Don Chen, associate professor, UNC Charlotte, appreciated my potential and offered me to work under his supervision. I will work on the project under the North Carolina Department of Transportation to develop the pavement modeling using breakpoints and pretreatment conditions. I also awarded funding opportunities against my research assistantship to cover my living, health insurance and tuition expenses. Therefore, the journey from KUET to ELP at Chatham to UNC Charlotte is really a cherished move for me.


I always highly recommend the Chatham English Language Program to English learners. If you need any suggestions or help from me, you can contact me over my email It will be a lovely experience if I can help you for any purpose.


Have a Charming Journey at Chatham University!



Tamim Adnan

Ph.D. student

Infrastructure and Environmental Systems

University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28223, United States.


Student Artwork

by Najd Alagl, ELP Student, Summer 2021

Please go to our Facebook page to like or comment on her picture as part of a social media competition!

The Brooklyn Bridge – New York

– If love can fade, then so can pain.

Summer Flowers in the Frick Pittsburgh

– Once you choose hope, everything is possible.

Summer Flowers in the Frick Pittsburgh

– The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment.

Najd’s son admiring a bunny

– They’re sleep-depriving, sticky little monsters that demand snack endlessly and want you to sing same song to them fifty times a day.

But they also think everything you say is hilarious. And when they lay their head on your shoulder everything seems right.

Kids can run your life but also they give you a reason to live when life tries to ruin you.

– I lied and I said I was busy,

I was busy, but not in a way people understand,

I was busy taking deeper breaths,

I was busy silencing irrational thoughts,

I was busy calming a racing heart,

I was busy telling myself “I am okay”,

sometimes this is my busy,

And I will not apologize for it. 

A Day in the Life of a Chatham Student

by Megan Delaney, sophomore, English and International Studies major

An average day at Chatham for me starts around 9:00 am. I am lucky to have not had too many early morning classes, and I like to be up around an hour before my first class begins. After waking up, I shower, get dressed, and brush my teeth. I try to eat breakfast every morning. Usually, it consists of something like cereal or a granola bar, but sometimes I use my blender to make a smoothie or protein shake. After eating, I head up the stairs to campus. Most of my classes take place in Falk or Coolidge Hall, but I have had some science-related classes in Buhl Hall.

Outside Buhl
Outside Falk

A majority of my classes fall under the realm of humanities, so this means a lot of discussion and collaboration in class. Some of these classes include Intro to Women Writers and Shakespeare Survey. After class is over, I might stop at Cafe Rachel for an iced tea. I usually make my own meals in my apartment’s kitchen, but I will also stop at Anderson or get a quick lunch at Cafe Rachel if I see something I like.

Patio of Cafe Rachel

The number of classes I have in one day can vary, and I have had anywhere from one to four classes in a single day. Regardless, I usually have some free time for dinner. Similar to lunch, I often make my own dinner, but sometimes meet with friends at Anderson for a meal. I complete most of my studying and homework in the evenings, but I try to give myself enough time to wind down before sleeping around midnight. On the weekend, my schedule looks quite different, as I utilize those days to spend time with friends, run errands, and explore Pittsburgh. I have spent a lot of time in places like Shadyside, Oakland, and Squirrel Hill, trying out various restaurants and attractions. I find that mostly everything I need at college can be reached by walking or taking a quick bus ride.

Squirrel Hill
Pittsburgh skyline

Although mine is just one experience, I have found that life at Chatham can be what you make it. There are many exciting opportunities on campus and around the city to explore!

Let’s Talk Friday and More

Jan 15: Let’s Talk Friday 1

Time: 9-10am US Eastern Time (Pittsburgh Time)

Time zone Converter:


Cost: Free


Join Chatham University students and students from various countries in a Let’s Talk Friday event. You’ll have the opportunity to make friends, share your goal in 2021, and seek suggestions on overcoming the obstacles to achieve the goal.  Please prepare for these two questions in advance.

1. In 1-2 minutes, please tell us your name and three words or phrases that describe your background and why those words/phrases are important to you.

2. In 2 minutes, talk about a goal that you’d like to achieve in 2021 and what obstacles may stop you from achieving the goal.

Please be ON TIME as you may not be admitted to the meeting if you are not on time.

Spring 2021 English Language Program updates!

The Chatham University English Language Program recorded a short video about the Spring 2021 semester, and the options to study virtually or in-person.

If you are not able to join us for in-person classes, you can still register for the virtual English Language Program for Spring 2021!

Please apply by January 4 to join Spring 2021 virtual classes!

We will also have options to join the English Language Program to study a 7.5 week intensive course from March 4- April 23. Please contact us for more details!

Questions? Contact us at!



IIE and NAFSA events for International Education Week 2020


The Open Doors 2020 Data Release were released on November 16. Watch the VIDEO RELEASE here. Representatives from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education released findings from the 2020 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.

Thursday, Nov 19
Now More than Ever: DEI in Global Programming, 11:00am ET

IIE’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has been central to our mission and we continue to practice and reaffirm that commitment in our programming throughout the world. Join a panel of IIE team members from across our global offices moderated by Mary Karam McKey, Head of IIE’s Corporate & Foundation Programs. Panelists will explore regional considerations around DEI as well as incorporating it into program design and implementation. Panelists and locations include:

  • Ethiopia Abebe, Lead, Ethiopia and Sub Saharan Africa (Addis Ababa)
  • Jonathan Lembright, Head, Southeast Asia (Bangkok)
  • Nichole Johnson, Director, Private Sector Program Development (NYC)
  • Evgenia Valuy, Lead, Evaluation and Learning (NYC)
  • Michelle Pickard, Director, Gilman International Scholarship Program (Houston)
  • Akta Sawhney, Senior Program Specialist (New Delhi)

Friday, Nov 20
Now More than Ever: Cultivating Leaders to Address Global Challenges, 11:00am ET

Exchange alumni contribute to society in positive ways and, shaped by their lived experiences, become leaders who are working to address the world’s most pressing challenges. Michelle Dass Pickard, IIE’s Director of the Gilman International Scholarship Program, will be joined by alumni of various leadership development and exchange programs who will discuss the need for these programs in light of current challenges, the importance of DEI in programs, and considerations to ensure that the benefit of the exchange experience does not end with the individual participant.


Cost: $89 for non-members

More information here:

Monday, November 16

Our Future: The Next Four Years, 1:00pm- 2:30pm ET
Examine the outcome of the 2020 U.S. election and how it will impact international education, diplomacy and engagement with the world.

Tuesday, November 17

Social Justice & International Education: Exploring the Intersections, 10:00am- 1:00pm ET

Wednesday, November 18

NAFSA Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization Presidential Panel and Award Recognition, 1:00pm-2:30pm ET
Recognize the achievements of the 2020 NAFSA Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization winners and join us for a live Presidential Panel.

Thursday, November 19

Perspectives on Engaging Today’s Students, 1:00pm ET

Friday, November 20

Fall 2020 NAFSA Research Symposium: A Critical Discussion of Theories, Methodologies, and Practices in International Education, 9:30am-1:30pm ET

Inspiration during challenging times

By Sylvia Shipp, ELP Lecturer

I was hoping to hear, as in years past, reflective stories delivered by our Chatham domestic and foreign students. In previous International Educational Symposiums, students would relay their various challenges they’d had to overcome in their chosen country to study, as well as highlights of their stay. Highlights usually included the lifelong friends they’d established, teachers and classes that had helped to improve their skills and broaden their horizons, and places they’d had the chance to visit.

This year, although some reflections presented resembled those in the past, many highlights had a very different color and energy compared to previous ones. On a similar note, the mountains that needed to be summited were steeper and more dimly lit. Yes, perhaps fewer friendships were forged, but  the strength and supportiveness of those friendships seemed to surpass those from previous years. Yes, many of the classes were hybrid or fully virtual, and yet students seemed to invest more time honing academic skills, independent learning, reading, in addition to perfecting creative talents and athletic skills.

All of this and more, despite the uncertainty that this year has wrought on all of us, our families, and friends. I was deeply touched by the talks our students gave, moved by their ability to see the beauty in a time where others might not, moved by their level of reflection and stamina to move forward when others might feel a malaise or paralysis. Actually I assume the students who gave their talk during IEW feel many of the same fears and hesitation the rest of us feel, but they’ve managed to rein in the negativity to keep moving forward. That’s why the IEW talks this past week seemed especially precious and why I’ll always treasure their inspiring messages.

I’d like to give a heartfelt thanks to all of you awesome students, including Hiroki, Miku, Hanna,  Walker, and Lerlina, who openly shared your hearts and minds with us.

Restricted and Expanded: Life During COVID-19

Dr. Linh Phung wrote this reflection to inspire her students to write their own reflection on their experience during COVID-19. She shares it here with the hope to hear more stories and reflections from others. 

Life-changing news came in droves in the week of March 9, 2020. Restrictions on gatherings were announced at the university earlier in the week. The IELTS workshop that I had spent so much time arranging was effectively cancelled. The much anticipated TESOL Convention, where thousands of English teachers would meet to share ideas and get inspired, was called off. On Thursday, after I finished teaching, I gathered my books and work computer to bring home, considering the high chance of not being able to return to work the following week. Then it all became clear on Friday, March 13. We were in “lockdown.” Every “non-essential” worker, not only at Chatham, but in many parts of the state, was ordered to stay at home. The daycare was closed, and my 18-month-old baby was also ordered to “shelter in place.” My husband and I congregated at home with laptops, monitors, and phones on the dining table, trying to work while the baby did everything but allow us to work. What just happened?

New COVID-related vocabularies broadcast on the air and though social media became everyday lingo: positive cases, contact tracing, social distancing, self-isolation, lockdown, and so on. Life had no choice but to go on, but in a much smaller and restricted manner in the physical space of home. In my English Language Program (ELP), some international students were recalled home while others were understandably disappointed with the move to virtual learning and physical confinement. “This is not the study-abroad experience that we signed up for” was the sentiment that many stated. The program carried on with 20 hours of English instruction on Zoom, offered conversation hours and games on Zoom, and gathered for the End-of-Term Celebration on Zoom. There were undoubtedly frustrations, challenges, and Zoom fatigue, but there were also highlights of what was inspiring and heart-warming as we came to terms with the new reality. One such highlight was what students wrote in their submissions to the ELP Writing Contest: words of hope, unity, care, and living life in the moment as well as the humor of “staring straight in the eyes” of the virus with a stern warning that “you can’t divide us.” All of these gave me the positive energy, going into another semester of virtual classes with the determination of making instruction better for students. There is no choice but to persist, is there?

End-of-Term Celebration

With students taking classes from four countries in vastly different time zones in the summer, the summer classes were challenging time-wise, yet diverse and exciting. Overall, I had a stellar group of students, and in the end, I think the semester was a success with students appreciating what they learned from the Reading course and the “Science of Wellbeing” course on Coursera that we were all enrolled in. To me, the “Happiness” course as we called it was a highlight of the summer as we learned about what really matters for our subjective happiness, the fallacies of our mind, and simple-to-understand-but-difficult-to-implement strategies to boost our happiness. Connecting with others, being kind to others, expressing gratitude, and focusing on the here-and-now are not only strategies supported by a large body of happiness research, but also, I think, ones that bring us together as social beings and help us look deeper into ourselves as individual beings. I’m still far from turning those strategies into sustainable habits, but I have some hope that by making these small changes,  I can better maintain my mental health and live a more meaningful life.

Being serious with other TESOL leaders

Now being well into the fall semester without any hope of Covid-19 going away anytime soon, I’ve also come to appreciate the silver linings of a world less restricted by physical barriers. Apart from teaching my usual lessons to college students, I have conducted countless virtual conversation hours for students of all ages. I’ve presented on Facebook live to nearly a thousand viewers. I’ve attended far more conference presentations than in any normal year. I talk with colleagues from all over the world on a weekly basis. I’m collaborating on research with friends and colleagues. I’ve found my professional life expanded. If happiness means having a pleasant life, an engaged life, and/or a meaningful life, I’m certainly having a more engaged work life and feeling good about it.

Fall 2020
The world is now hoping for a vaccine that can be efficiently distributed so that we can soon get back to our normal life: A life with concerts, gatherings, hugs, and kisses that no technologies can simulate. A life when we can go out to lunch with colleagues, visit places with students, and exchange small talks in hallways and on campus walks. However, I also wonder about the lasting impacts of the new ways of teaching, working, communicating, and conferencing during Covid on the future of my work and professional life. Some questions come to mind.
  • What elements of virtual teaching, assessment, and student services will likely stick around?
  • To what extent will university staff go back to work in the office and continue to telework?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of both options? What will encourage more productivity and engagement?
  • Will colleagues from near and far still gather to share ideas across borders or will we retreat back to our local networks?

Dare to make predictions? Please leave your comments!