International Students MENU


West Virginia State University's Office of International Affairs (OIA) is the university-wide resource for information regarding academic exchanges, overseas opportunities, and international research for students, faculty, and staff. In accordance with our University mission, the OIA seeks to promote cross-cultural efforts within the campus community. We provide advice and council to WVSU faculty, staff, students and researchers traveling abroad and support to international university students and faculty coming to WVSU for academic or professional goals. OIA works hard to provide opportunities for students to grow in an exciting new environment.

To help with the language barrier for incoming international college students, WVSU offers an EXCELS program (Excellence in Culture and English Language Study) that houses our English as a Second Language program (ESL). ESL strives to teach practical English to non-native speakers. In this capacity, ESL aims primarily to equip students within WVSU’s undergraduate and graduate programs with the written, listening and conversational skills needed to flourish in their chosen fields.

Apart from their regular studies, WVSU’s international student body can enjoy a vast range of planned activities. Cultural festivals, outdoor excursions to beautiful destinations like Hawk’s Nest State Park, and on-campus events give our visiting students a rich educational experience. Our open-minded program encourages students to share their cultural traditions within the community, as we look forward to sharing our American culture with them. Living in a different country isn't easy, especially at first, so WVSU strives to create fun, educational, and affordable trips that help international college students with the adjustment process.

WVSU’s Office of International Affairs also offers a wide variety of exchanges and specialized programs for all students. The OIA also offers study abroad programs around the globe. Depending on the country, there are plenty of valuable opportunities for language study, internships, and other degree-specific programs.

Our international university program is maintained by a great group of people, including Dr. Lan Wang (Director, ESL), Megan Norman (Assistant Director, OIA), Richard Hiles (Logistics Coordinator), Ana Karen Gatica Toledo (student worker), and Payge Lyons (student worker). For those who seek a refreshing, small-town university experience, we invite you to learn more about our programs. Thank you for visiting WVSU’s Office of International Affairs.

For more information, contact us at

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowBefore You Arrive Checklist

Before you arrive Checklist:

Please complete everything on this checklist before you leave home.
  • Confirm your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you arrive in the US.
  • Apply for and receive your F-1 Student Visa.
  • If you receive your Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine before coming to the US, bring confirmation of the vaccination (in English) from your doctor with you to orientation.
  • Make sure to have your accommodation already planned before you depart especially if you do not plan to stay on campus.
  • Provide OIA with arrival information into Charleston, West Virginia (Airport code - CRW)– please email

What to carry with you on the plane;

  • Valid passport and F-1 Visa
  • Original I-20
  • All papers from the WVSU Office of International Affairs
  • Evidence of funding for your tuition fees and living costs, including sponsor letter if appropriate
  • Enough money for your first few weeks
  • Health forms and immunization documentation
  • Official transcripts or test scores needed to present during orientation
  • Insurance documents
  • Any valuable items
  • A copy of all prescriptions for medicines, eyeglasses and contact lenses, written in English
  • The WVSU arrival contact phone number (304) 766-3063

What to Pack;

  • Weather – West Virginia’s climate has four seasons with moderate temperatures ranging from 5°C in January, 20°C in April, 30°C in July, to 20°C in October. You will need clothing for both warm and cold seasons.
  • Food – There are a variety of dining options on-campus as well as in Charleston and its surrounding areas as well as campus dining and grocery stores nearby. Vegan and vegetarian options are available at many of these locations.
  • Cultural Items – There are many opportunities for international students to share their culture on campus during festivals and special events. Please consider bringing your national dress or other clothes associated with a hobby or sport you enjoy in your country such as sports attire, dance costumes, etc. You may also wish to bring items such as photos, books, souvenirs, recorded music, and musical instruments.

Getting a Student Visa

  • You must have a valid passport to obtain a U.S. visa. Your passport should not expire for at least six months while in the US. Before visiting the U.S. Consulate for your visa interview, please read the instructions on the I-20 Certificate of Eligibility.
  • Your spouse or child(ren) may be able to accompany you on an F-2 dependent visa. F-2 dependent visa holders are not allowed to work or study at an institution.
  • Transfer and Delay Information
  • If you plan to travel outside the U.S. before your first term at WVSU, please indicate before leaving the U.S. that you’ll need the WVSU I-20 for re-entry purposes.
  • If you are unable to obtain a visa before the start of the term, please contact WVSU immediately at or (304) 766-3063
  • Sevis I-901 Fee
  • Pay the fee at least three business days before you apply for your visa interview. You will need to pay with a credit or debit card and print the receipt as it is required at your interview. This fee is in addition to the visa application fee. Continuing students transferring from another U.S. institution and dependents applying for an F-2 visa usually do not need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
  • Graduate WVSU F-1 school code:
  • Undergraduate and English as a Second Language WVSU F-1 school code:
  • The WVSU J-1 school code is:
  • Your U.S. Embassy or Consulate:
  • US Department of State:
  • Additional resource on getting a US student visa:
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowAfter You Arrive Checklist

After you arrive:

Please provide your flight arrival details (flight number, airline name, arrival date and time) 14 days before arrival via email to Ms. Karla Neal (
When booking flights, remember that you should arrive in Charleston at least one day before the program start date on your I-20.

Entering the US

As an F-1 student, you are allowed to enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the program start date listed on the item on #5 of your I-20. If you arrive after the start date listed on your I-20, you may be denied entry to the US. Be sure to have the following documents with you on the plane and ready to present at the U.S. port of entry:
  • Original I-20
  • Valid passport
  • F-1 Visa
  • SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt
  • Documentation of finances for your first year of studies
Form I-94
Customs and Border Patrol has automated the I-94 process for travelers applying for admission at U.S. ports of entry. Air and sea travelers no longer need to complete paper form I-94. If the I-94 number is needed, you may obtain and print a paper I-94 at:

US Customs Declaration Form

You also will receive the U.S. Customs Declaration form to complete during your flight. You must complete this form and present it to the immigration official when you enter the US.

Arriving in West Virginia

Yeager Airport (CRW)
The airport is approximately 20 minutes by car to campus. Be sure you are arriving in Charleston, West Virginia NOT Charleston, South Carolina. Be sure the airport code is CRW.

WVSU Airport Transportation Service

If you need an airport transportation, you must email your arrival details 14 days prior to arrival to: Ms. Karla Neal ( If you have arranged airport pick-up with WVSU, please wait by the baggage claim area and a WVSU staff member will meet you at the designated time.
If your flight is delayed, you cannot find the WVSU staff member for pick-up, your baggage is lost, or you experience any other problems during your travel to West Virginia, call the WVSU Office of International Affairs immediately at (304) 766 3063.

Residence Hall Move-in Dates

On-campus housing accommodations in the residence halls will not be available until the weekend before your program start date. The specific move-in date for your program will be sent to you with confirmation of your housing reservation. If you arrive before your on-campus housing is ready, you will need to stay in a local hotel.

Bank Accounts

You will need to open a checking or savings account with a bank after arriving. You usually need two pieces of picture identification (passport and WVSU ID card), your local mailing address and money to open an account.

Cash and Credit/Debit Cards

You should not carry large amounts of cash. Carry smaller bills when you arrive for food, phone calls, and other inexpensive purchases.
The most accepted credit cards in the U.S. are Visa and MasterCard. It is best to apply for a credit card in your home country, as it is not easy for international students to obtain credit cards in the US. If you would like to take cash from your credit or debit account you can use a Plus, Cirrus, Interlink, or Star Network bank card to make a cash withdrawal from machines on campus and in Charleston.

Transferring Money

Some countries have strict rules about transferring money to the US.
  • Make arrangements with your government and learn your bank’s procedures for transferring funds abroad.
  • Transfer enough money to cover expenses for one term in addition to tuition paid. The amount of money you will need each term varies with your living situation and lifestyle.
  • You should have access to at least $500 or more to cover cell phone deposit and plan, and other living expenses.

Cell Phones

Many students need changes to their cell phone plans once they arrive in the US. During Orientation, there is time for you to meet with potential cell phone providers and choose the plan that is best for you. While some companies require a two-year contract to get service, there are also monthly plans available with some carriers. Don’t worry, we will help you with this once you arrive!
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowLiving in the United States
We want to make the transition as easy as possible for you. During orientation, we will have a bank representative present to answer questions you may have about opening a bank account within the United States. We suggest choosing a bank that is reasonably close to campus or one that has an ATM on campus. You do not need to obtain a Social Security Number in order to open a bank account.

Obtaining a Social Security Number
You will need a Social Security Number to hold a job on-campus. For more information on what you will need to do to apply, please click this link. There are two Social Security Offices around campus.

St Albans Social Security Office

49 Olde Main Plaza
St Albans, WV - 25177

Charleston Social Security Office

500 Quarrier Street, suite 300
Charleston, WV - 25301

Obtaining a Drivers License
For information regarding obtaining a West Virginia Driver's License, please visit the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles webpage (WV DMV).

Jobs on Campus
There are a small number of jobs available on-campus. At West Virginia State University, there are two types of jobs available to students. Regular student worker positions and work-study positions. Work-study positions are not available to international students because you must receive federal financial aid in order to qualify. The regular student worker positions are available to all students at a maximum of 20 hours per week during the semesters. 

Maintaining I-20 Status
Below are actions to take in order to properly maintain your status.


When arriving to the United States, both F and M students must:
  • Enter the United States no more than 30 days before your program of study begins.
  • Immediately contact your designated school official (DSO) when you enter the United States.
  • When you arrive at school, you need to contact your DSO again, no later than the program start date listed on your Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status."


While studying in the United States, both F and M students must:
  • Attend and pass all your classes. If school is too difficult, speak with your DSO immediately.
  • If you believe that you will be unable to complete your program by the end date listed on your Form I-20, talk with your DSO about requesting a possible program extension.
  • You must take a full course of study each term; if you cannot study full-time, contact your DSO immediately.
  • Do not drop a class without first speaking with your DSO.
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowDining on Campus

Dining on Campus

The Meal Plan allows students to enter WVSU dining halls as many times a day as they wish. This plan gives students access to a dining facility every day at WVSU, including break periods.


Goldston Dining Room
Located at James C Wilson University Union
Sunday 10:45am-12:15pm
Monday 7:30am-9:30am
Tuesday 7:30am-9:30am
Wednesday 7:30am-9:30am
Thursday 7:30am-9:30am
Friday 7:30am-9:30am
Saturday 10:45am-12:15pm
William F. Pickard Café
Located at Keith Scholars Hall
Monday through Friday
BRB - Be Right Burger BRB - Be Right Burger
Located at James C Wilson University Union.
Monday 11:00am-10:00pm
Tuesday 11:00am-5:00pm
Wednesday 11:00am-10:00pm
Thursday 11:00am-5:00pm
Friday 11:00am-10:00pm
Mondo SubsMondo Subs
Located at James C Wilson University Union
Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm
Monday 11:00am-5:00pm
Tuesday 11:00am-10:00pm
Wednesday 11:00am-5:00pm
Thursday 11:00am-10:00pm
Friday 11:00am-3:00pm
Saturday 11:00am-4:00pm
Located at James C Wilson
 University Union
Sunday 10:45am-12:30pm
Monday 7:00am-7:00pm
Tuesday 7:00am-7:00pm
Wednesday 7:00am-7:00pm
Thursday 7:00am-7:00pm
Friday 7:00am-7:00pm
Saturday 10:45am-12:30pm
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowEnglish Placement
All new students will take an English evaluation to determine their appropriate course level. You will be able to register for your classes only after you have taken the placement test, all admissions documents have been verified, full payment of tuition has been made and you have fulfilled the immunization requirement.
Q: What are the admissions criteria?

A: For this information, please visit the following link:
Q: What standardized tests do I need to take?

A: All students for whom English is not their native language must take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the IELTS Exam. On the TOEFL, a minimum of score 500 (paper-based-exam). 173 (computer-based), or a 61 (internet-based) is required. On the IELTS, a minimum score of a 5.5 is required. These students may choose to submit the TOEFL or IELTS Exam.

Q: Does your university offer financial aid for international students?

A: West Virginia State University offers financial aid for international students, but restrictions apply. Please visit the link below for more information:
Q: What is the cost attendance now?

A: WVSU has one of the most affordable tuition costs in West Virginia. To view 2015-2015 Academic Year Per Semester Fees, please visit the following link:
Q: Can international students apply to any undergraduate program at West Virginia State University?
A: Yes.
Q: Are there any other sources for scholarships and financial aid?
A: The link below has all the information to assist you with financial aid. Please notice that financial aid may be in the form of scholarships, grants, work study, or student loans.
Q: How do I apply?
A: Applying to become part of the WVSU family is a very simple process. The link below holds several types of applications for admission, so if you are a resident of another country that requires a student visa, please select the International Students application.
Q: What undergraduate programs does WVSU offer?
A: We offer 23 undergraduate degree programs of study. Students may select from a wide variety of majors and minors. We also offer 28 minors, an Honors Program, and various research and internship opportunities.
Q: How many graduate programs are offered?
A: WVSU has graduate programs in Biotechnology, Criminal Justice Administration, Social Work, Media Studies, and Public Administration.
Q: What other programs are offered for international students?
A: WVSU offers an on-campus English as a Second Language program for secondary school, college undergraduate, and graduate students. ESL’s goal is to give the students the confidence and knowledge they need to excel at university, learn study skills, and gain a better understanding of US’s culture.
For more information about the program, visit the following link:
Q: Are there volunteer opportunities for students?
A: Yes, students can volunteer at a number of local and school organizations. To view a list of WVSU Student Organizations, please click the link below:
Q: Can I get a job on campus?
A: Yes. Each year a huge number of students work in various positions on campus. Students may work up to 20 hours per week during regular school semesters and full-time during school breaks.
Q: What support do freshmen have?
A: WVSU has an office of New Student Programs whose primary goal is to ensure that all entering students at WVSU are given the opportunity to work toward their full potential. For more details regarding the Program, check the link below:
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowHealth Insurance
WVSU requires all international students to acquire health insurance. Students must show proof of insurance coverage within two weeks of beginning classes.

Two recommended providers are VISIT Insurance ( and ISO Insurance ( & You may find a comparable plan from another provider if you wish. If proof of coverage has not been provided to the Office of International Affairs at the end of the two week period, a hold will be placed on your account. 

Most travel insurance policies purchased in your home country will not meet the university’s insurance requirements.

Bring a copy in English of ALL prescriptions for medicines, eyeglasses and contact lenses with you to the US.

Student Health Services
Health care services are provided on campus at the FamilyCare Mobile Health Services for illnesses affecting students such as cold, flu, upset stomach, etc. Services are available at WVSU on Mondays from 2pm-5pm. There are some costs students will be individually responsible for, should the need arise including:
  • Cost of any medication
  • Cost of any dental services
  • Cost of X-rays or laboratory work done outside the Care Clinic
  • Cost of referred specialist
  • Cost of hospital services
  • Cost of emergency transportation (ambulance)
  • Cost of optical services (glasses, etc)
WVSU requires all students (except 4-week ESL students) to have Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination. You must bring proof of receiving this vaccination or start the vaccination series during your first week of class.
Proof of MMR must:
  • Include your name and birth date
  • Show proof of two vaccinations for MMR
  • Be at least 28 calendar days between the two vaccinations
  • Include day, month and year of vaccinations
  • Be signed by a doctor, nurse or school official and dated after the last MMR
  • Be translated into English
Immunization Recommendations
Review your records with your doctor before departing to ensure they are up to date. The following are vaccinations recommended by the American College Health Association:
  • Tetanus and Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis B
  • Meningococcal
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • Tuberculin Skin Test (TB Screening)
The screening for tuberculosis is recommended for all students from regions where TB is common (areas of Africa, Asia, Central and South America). Individuals with a positive skin test will be referred for medical evaluation.
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowLate Registration Fee
Students who arrive late or do not complete the registration requirements noted on time may be subject to a late registration fee of $250. This fee will be charged to your student account and you will not be able to register for your classes until all balances have been paid.
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowLiving on Campus

Living on Campus

Undergraduate and English as a Second Language students are required to live on campus for their first two years at WVSU.

Students may choose between a single room and a shared suite. Once housing assignments are made, we will email your housing confirmation and specific room assignments.

Graduate students may live in residence halls if space is available.

WVSU requires ESL, first year, and second year students enrolled for 12+ credit hours to live in residence halls and participate in a meal plan. This excludes summer sessions and is applicable until students attain junior status (58 credit hours), reach age 21, have graduated from high school two years prior to the academic year, or exemption is granted by the Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.

Items Included in your Residence Hall

The following items will be provided for you:
  • Bed
  • Extra-long or regular twin mattress
  • Linens including pillow and comforter
  • Window covering
  • Desk and chair
  • Closet
  • Television cable connection
  • Ethernet port access
  • Trash and recycling bins
  • Free wireless internet
If you need additional bed or bath linens, there are stores near campus where you can buy these and other necessities.


US electrical outlets are 110 volts AC.  If you are bringing an appliance, phones and other electronic items like computers or laptops, you may need a voltage adapter.   The U.S. has its own standard of electrical socket (NEMA) which may require a plug adapter as well.

We recommend purchasing most appliances and electronics after you arrive.  Many appliances (like rice cookers or electrical teapots) are not allowed in residence hall rooms and are available for use in the dining room. 

Refrigerators should be no larger than 4.6 cubic feet max, 1.8 amps, 110 volts, Residence Life approved only.  In the interest of fire prevention, electrical outlets must not be overloaded.

No devices for the purpose of cooking are allowed in residence hall rooms, with the exception of the following: pop-up toasters (not toaster ovens), blenders, can openers, coffee makers and juicers.  Microwave ovens are permitted in student rooms provided the microwave oven has been Residence Life approved and does not exceed 700 watts.

Residence Halls include:
  • On-campus location close to classrooms, library, recreation center and student center
  • Live-in student staff to assist residents 24 hours a day
  • Faculty involvement
  • Securely locked exterior doors
  • Wireless high-speed internet
  • Lounges with televisions and games
  • Study lounges
  • Laundry facilities
Off-Campus Housing

Many housing options are available to Graduate students and other students not living in campus housing. WVSU has apartments available on and off campus. If you are considering living off campus and are eligible to do so, request this housing option early due to limited number of spaces. For more information please email:
(Check all housing information)

If you arrive before the move-in date for your program, you will need to make arrangements with campus housing for a temporary assignment at a daily rate or stay in a local hotel

Holiday Inn Express & Suites
410 New Goff Mountain Rd, Cross Lanes, WV 25313


Please report to WVSU Office of International Affairs on your program start date at 8:30am, building FERRELL HALL, Room 304. At orientation you will:
  • Take an English language placement test
  • Take a math placement test (undergrad only)
  • Confirm all required health/admissions documents
  • Pay any balances owed
  • Learn about student visa regulations
  • Register for classes
Be sure to bring the following with you to orientation:
  • Passport, visa and I-20
  • Transcripts or test scores
  • Proof of MMR immunization
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowSafety on Campus

Safety on Campus

West Virginia Safety Information

WVSU is generally very safe and West Virginia has one of the lowest crime rates in the US. However, this does not mean crime does not happen. Your safety is largely your responsibility and you should not engage in any activity that puts you in danger. Here are some tips on how to stay safe:

Review our Emergency Procedures Guide

Do NOT walk alone late at night.

At night, use well-lit and well-traveled routes. Avoid dark, vacant areas.

Always lock your doors and windows.

Trust your instincts. If you do not feel comfortable in a situation, leave.

Use the WVSU Help Phones, identified by a blue light, located on campus.

Use the buddy system or the WVSU Public Safety officers if an escort is needed.
•          All Emergencies:  911
•          University Public Safety: (304) 766-3353, (304) 766-3181 (after business hours)
We will provide you with information about your textbooks after you arrive. The cost of textbooks may be $500-$2,000 per year. Books can be purchased on campus at the university bookstore.

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowVisiting Scholars

Visiting Scholars

West Virginia State University encourages scholars from all over the world to pursue academic research projects (1-2 semesters) as a visiting scholar to the WVSU campus. Visiting scholars may receive an appointment and title of Research Associate in a particular field. Prerequisites are a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree, and in some cases Ph.D. candidates currently engaged in dissertation research.

For more than 100 years, students, staff, and faculty from around the world have found their way to West Virginia State University, recognized as the most culturally and racially diverse institution of higher education in West Virginia. West Virginia State University, located in Institute, a suburb of Charleston, the State capital, is the largest institution of higher education in the Kanawha Valley, and serves as a major resource center for this metropolitan area. The University provides a large spectrum of undergraduate degree programs, both baccalaureate and associate.

Founded in 1891 as a Land-Grant institution, West Virginia State University attained national prominence as an institution for higher education for blacks and continues to serve as a center of black culture in the state of West Virginia. Voluntary desegregation in 1954 created a distinctive "living laboratory of human relations," attracting a racially and culturally diverse student body, faculty, and staff. The University cherishes its unique history and its reputation for safeguarding academic freedom, for being innovative in its scholarly programs, for removing barriers to education, and providing leadership for women, minorities, and the handicapped. As the university has grown and evolved, to an enrollment of nearly 5,000 students, it has retained a degree of diversity unique among other West Virginia colleges & universities.

Passport & Visa

A J-1 visa is issued to scholars according to a request submitted by their sponsoring agencies or institutions for special program work. The J-1 visa is managed under the auspices of the United States Department of State.

To qualify for a J -1 visa, you must be "sponsored," in other words funded by one or several of the following: your home University, WVSU, a government, an agency, a foundation, an employer, or an international organization authorized to conduct an exchange visitor program. Research scholars may use personal funds but still must be sponsored by an academic department of WVSU. If you qualify for a J-1 visa, your spouse and dependents will be given a J-2 visa. Spouses in J-2 status may apply to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for permission to work after their arrival in the U.S. Do not plan on income from spouse employment, however, since employment authorization is not guaranteed and jobs are sometimes difficult to acquire..

Health Insurance

All J-1 Exchange Visitors and their dependents are required to have health insurance. It is ill-advised to be in the United States without adequate health insurance. Although in many countries the government bears the expense of health care for its citizens, and sometimes even for visitors, individuals and families in the United States are responsible for these costs themselves. Since a single day of hospitalization and medical treatment can cost thousands of dollars, many hospitals and doctors refuse to treat uninsured patients except in life threatening emergencies. Insurance gives you access to better and more timely health care, and provides the only protection against the enormous costs of health care in this country.


Visiting Scholars will be responsible for their own source of funds.

On Campus Housing

West Virginia State University will provide, at a reasonable price, a studio apartment with private kitchen and bathroom facilities on campus suitable for a single person. Although Visiting Scholars will be responsible for their meals, they will have access to the University cafeteria at the subsidized faculty/staff price.


Library & Research Facilities

In addition to having a computer and office, visiting scholars will have full access to the WVSU Drain-Jordan library. There are more than 200,000 books and 900 current periodical subscriptions available in the Drain-Jordan Library. More than 9,000 bound periodical volumes and 200,000 items are available in microfilm and fiche. An Instructional Materials Production Center and Archives Department are located in the building.

The Drain-Jordan Library has been a selective depository for United States public documents since 1907. Special archive collections include US Government Documents, Regional and Local History, African-American History in Appalachia (noted African-Americans, John W. Davis and John Frederick Matheus), and the forthcoming Republic of Benin, West Africa special collection (Summer 2002).


A bus line links the WVSU campus with the downtown and greater Charleston area and major shopping centers.

Charleston is linked by major interstate highways and has bus and train service for travel within state and nationally. Contact Greyhound Bus (1-800-231-2222) and Amtrak (1-800-872-7245).

Yeager Airport, located 5 minutes from downtown Charleston, offers direct flights to over a dozen cities and connections to all parts of the world.

ESL Program

The WVSU ESL program will be available as of the summer 2015. .

Activities at WVSU

In addition to his/her own research, Visiting Scholars may also be invited from time to time to take part in academic activity at the WVSU campus, and to lead or participate in lectures in the greater community. The Faculty Lecture Series, held weekly on the WVSU campus offers a general forum for discussion. Lecture topics cover a wide range of interest for presentation and discussion. Visiting Scholars may also be asked periodically to visit classes according to the needs of WVSU professors.

Community Groups

The Friendship Force International, founded in 1977 by a WVSU alumnus, is headquartered in Atlanta, GA. The organization sponsors homestays for groups of members to and from many countries around the world. Members of the Charleston Friendship Force chapter could be contacted for information about the area. Local number: 1-304-344-4069, Atlanta number: 1-800-554-6715.

Partners of the Americas is another international organization with a particular interest in links between the United States and South America. The West Virginia chapter has a sister State in Espirito Santo, Brazil. See Local numbers: (304) 346-1172 or (304) 357-4745.

The International Club of Charleston is a local organization whose members could also be contacted for information. Local numbers: (304) 344-4069 and (304) 346-2123.

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowOptional Practical Training (OPT)
Optional Practical Training is temporary employment authorization issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Employment must relate directly to a student’s major field of study. OPT may be used either during a degree program after one year of study (pre-completion OPT) or upon completion of an academic program (post-completion OPT). Most students use OPT upon program completion.

Please report your OPT employment or volunteer work within 10 days of your start date and anytime there is a change. OIA will then use the information you provide to report to SEVIS.

OPT Fast Facts
  • Plan early! OPT can take up to 90 days plus mailing time to obtain.
  • You don't need a job offer to apply for OPT.
  • Students must have completed two full-time semesters at WVSU to be eligible to apply.
  • Students may apply for post-completion OPT as early as 90 days before their graduation date or as late as 60 days after their graduation date.

OPT Forms
image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowWVSU Student Services
West Virginia State University provides a range of programs and services promoting social, physical, personal and academic well-being.  The team helps students settle into life in the Charleston area upon arrival, provide social opportunities and many resources tailored to the specific needs of international students


  • Arrival support (304) 766-3063
  • Academic support
  • Social activities and programming
  • Housing and dining assistance
  • Orientation to WVSU and Charleston

Activities for Students

While the main reason for coming to West Virginia State University is to study, social activities will help you adjust to life in the U.S. and allow you to develop a network of friends to make your stay more enjoyable.  WVSU offers numerous options for socializing, experiencing the arts and taking part in sports.  The Office of International Affairs also organizes trips and activities designed to help students make the most of their time with us. 

Computers and Internet Access

All residence hall rooms are equipped with high-speed ethernet connections to the internet.  You will need to provide your own ethernet cable.  Students without their own computer can use the conveniently located computer labs in the University Union and several other locations around campus.  The Library and the University Union have high-speed wireless computer access. 

Technology support
Hamblin Hall 123
(304) 766-3261
Free Wi-fi access. Connect to: WVSU-Wireless
For help with PC hardware and software issues, network outages, report requests, or telephone problems please submit a work order by logging into

Fitness Center

The University Union Fitness Center is a facility designed for students, faculty, and staff; providing quality opportunity for exercise.  The facility is located on the lower level of the Union.  The Fitness Center offers a variety of equipment.  A WVSU ID card is required for admittance.

All currently enrolled students are welcome to use the Fitness Center.  A Waiver, Release of Liability and Consent to Medical Attention must be signed before first use. Call (304) 766-3174 for more details.

Hours of Operation
During Academic Semesters
M-F, 7:00am – 9:00pm
Sat & Sun, 10:00am – 8:00pm
During Breaks
M-F, 7:00am – 7:00pm
Sat & Sun, CLOSED

The Fitness Center is closed the week of Thanksgiving and approximately two weeks during Christmas.

Keeping in Contact with Home

Arriving in the U.S. will be an exciting time but please do remember that your family and friends may worry about you.  Remember to contact them and let them know you are safe!

Office of International Affairs
Website: /International/ESL-(English-as-a-Second-Language).aspx
Phone: (304) 766-3063
Facebook: WVSU ESL
Twitter: InternationalAffairs @wvsuOIA
WVSU University Youtube:

Placement Testing - Accuplacer

108 Wallace Hall
(304) 766-3278.

Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education

216 Wallace Hall
(304) 766-3250
Career planning, job searches, and CLEP or DSST tests (tests for College Level Credit).

Financial Aid

125 Ferrell Hall
(304) 204-4639
Questions about financial aid, FAFSA, scholarship requirements, and work study.

Cashier’s Office

117 Ferrell Hall
(304) 766-3141
Financial holds on accounts, parking passes, parking tickets, billing questions.

Counseling and Academic Support Services

125 Sullivan Hall East
(304) 766-3168
Counseling Services, Tutoring, Disability Services, Study Skills.

Registration and Records

128 Ferrell Hall
(304) 766-4146
Registration holds on records, transfer credit questions, adding/dropping courses after add/drop deadline, and withdrawals.

Tutoring Centers

  • TAP Room, Drop in Math and Science tutoring, 117 Wallace Hall, (304) 766-5231, Monday through Thursday 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Writing Center, 2nd Floor of the Library, (304) 766-3041, Monday through Thursday 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Language Lab, Spanish and French Tutoring, 218 Ferrell Hall, (304) 766-3217
    Peer Tutoring, Tutoring by appointment in a variety of subjects, 117 Sullivan Hall, East, (304) 766-3041
  • Smarthinking, Live, Online Tutoring - in a variety of subjects to help you succeed! 24 hours a day.  Submit writing assignments for review, (304) 766-3041
    Log on at
    Username: your complete WVSU email address
    Password:  wvstate

Library and Computer Labs

Drain-Jordan Library

The Drain-Jordan Library houses nearly 150,000 book volumes, e-books, e-journals, government documents and a wealth of non-print and archival resources. The main floor is home to over 70 computers for public use, including laptops available for checkout within the building. Friendly, highly-trained staff is available to help you with all your information needs:

(304) 766-3116
Monday thru Thursday 8:00 am-9:00 pm 
Friday 8:00 am-5:0 0pm
Sunday 2:00-8:00 pm                       

University Union Computer Lab

Monday thru Friday 8:00 am-10:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday 9:00 am-7:00 pm

Honors Program

215 Hamblin Hall
(304) 766-3292

Leadership Certificate Program

309 Sullivan Hall East
(304) 766-5149

WVSU Athletics

Facebook:  WVSU Yellow Jackets                             
Twitter: @WVSU GoJackets
Women’s Sports: Basketball, Softball, Cross Country, Volleyball and Tennis
Men’s Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Football, Golf and Tennis    

Our Team

Dr. XiZhao
Dr. Xi Zhao
Director of International Partnerships
Dr. Lan
Dr. Lan  Wang
Director of ESL & EXCELS
Megan  Norman
Assistant Director for International Affairs
WVSU Office of International Affairs
International Affairs
306 Ferrell Hall
Institute, WV 25112-1000
Tel: 304-766-3063
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