OISS Director, James Dorsett
OISS Director, James Dorsett

Hello everyone! I’m James Dorsett and I am the Director of the Office for International Students and Scholars. Congratulations on becoming one of almost 8,000 international students from 130 countries here at MSU! Michigan State and the Greater Lansing community are friendly and welcoming places.

OISS is the office for you.

We want to let you know that we, in the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS), are here to help you. It’s right here in the name! We are the office especially created to help international students and scholars.

I am often asked what advice I have for international students. I will mention two things: they should only ask OISS for immigration advice and they should fully explore all MSU has to offer them!

First, ask and trust OISS on immigration advice.

Why you should not listen to friends or relatives on immigration advice when you study at MSU?

  • Their situation as a current student is not necessarily yours. They may have a different major or immigration status.
  • Also don’t listen to your friends or relatives who have attended an American university several years ago, if they try to give you advice about staying in the U.S. legally.
  • The federal regulations change from year to year and the staff in OISS are the ones who keep up with those changes so that we can give you the best advice possible.
  • We have the special training and expertise to talk to you about any issues you may be having but especially about your F-1, J-1, or some other non-immigrant status.

Second, enjoy MSU experiences beyond classes.

Join some clubs, have some new experiences! Make friends, both International and American, get to know your professors! And explore as much of this American culture as you can.

In case you didn’t know, you are now part of the Michigan State family. That makes you a Spartan! If you don’t know what a Spartan is, you will learn soon.

I also want to remind you about a few things.

Reminders about IAOP & pre-arrival information

Make sure you are checking your MSU email every day since we send you important information.

Before you arrive, be sure to finish these required steps:

  • Complete the portal tasks at Beaspartan.edu.
  • Access and go through the information in SpartanPreview (spartanpreview.msu.edu).
  • Build your IAOP Personal Schedule Builder (IAOP only applies for undergraduate students on an F-1/J-1 visa)

When you arrive at East Lansing:

  • OISS has prepared taxi coupons for you at the Lansing airport and at the Michigan Flyer arrival spot in front of the Marriot Hotel in East Lansing to take you to the residential halls or hotels.

During IAOP week (IAOP only applies for undergraduate students on an F-1/J-1 visa)

  • The IAOP Personal Schedule Builder has all you need to know about IAOP week, so bring it with you all the time either on paper or on your phone.
  • The IAOP program helps you prepare for study and life here at MSU, so pay attention in the sessions and the small groups.
  • Ask questions, make some friends and have much fun.

International graduate students must check with their graduate department for orientation requirements. Immigration check-in is required for all students on an F-1 or J-1 student visa. We also encourage you and your families to join us for orientation events scheduled just for you! Check International Graduate Students Orientation Calendar of Events on OISS website.

If you have more questions:

  • Make sure you are checking your MSU email every day.
  • Check the OISS website (oiss.msu.edu) for updates and information. Email, call or visit us with questions.
  • Follow “MSU OISS” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for instant updates all the time.

We are so glad you are here at Michigan State.

This is the very start of your Spartan Adventure. The two, four, or more years you stay here will pass before you know it.

Discover new passions or develop some that you already have. This journey is a great one—a journey that concludes with your degree in hand, some wonderful friends, great memories, and the sense that Michigan State has been your home.

Study as much as you need to, get enough sleep, get some exercise. Call your family enough so that they won’t worry about you, but definitely have some fun too. And get past the fact that this place is not like where you came from. It is different! But it will grow on you until one day you realize that this is your second home.

Enjoy your time at Michigan State, have a great year, in fact have many great years. And if you need us, we are always here for you. Go Green!