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Student Services

Orientation

Orientation for incoming exchange students is mandatory.

If you are unable to attend orientation, please email oips@gmu.edu and your Program Officer explaining the reasons for which you cannot attend the mandatory orientation. Alternative arrangements will need to be made with the orientation staff and your Program Officer.

International Student Orientation Dates

Semester Date
Fall 2016 - Undergraduate Students August 23, 2016
Fall 2016 - Graduate Students August 25, 2016

Links

Student Email

When you are admitted to George Mason University, you are assigned a Mason email address. The system is called MasonLive. All official communication from Mason faculty and staff will be sent to that email.

Links

Medical Aid

The U.S. insurance system may be tricky for those who are new to it.

How it Works

  • If you need any medical assistance (whether it’s a simple sore throat or appendicitis), go to the doctor recommended by your insurance provider.
  • Pay a “deductible” – an amount that you always have to pay once a year to start using insurance services.
  • You will also pay a certain percentage of the price of the doctor’s appointment and any services you’ve received.
  • The rest of the costs are covered by insurance.
  • Make sure to look at the details of your plan to get the exact percentages and coverage limits.

If you have a health concern, it might be good to start with the George Mason University Student Health Services. Conveniently located on campus, Student Health Services has a staff of health professionals who can perform many services, including initial check-ups and many lab tests.

  • Call and make an appointment.
  • You will need to bring your Mason ID and your Aetna student insurance ID number with you.
  • Seeing a health professional at Student Health Services is free for full-time exchange students, and lab fees are fairly low, with the most expensive lab test costing $40.

If Student Health Services are unable to perform a test you need (for example, they do not provide x-ray services), they will refer you to the nearest clinic that will accept your student insurance policy. In all, Student Health Services is a great place to start if you have a non-emergency health concern.

Medical Emergency Numbers

Free After-hours Nurse Advice Line 703-993-2831
Aetna Customer Service 800-878-1945
Emergency room or an urgent care facility ...
Emergency Number 911

Psychological Services

Counseling and Psychological Services at George Mason University are an excellent free-of-charge tool to enhance your semester at Mason.

College life and life in another country on exchange offers students tremendous opportunities for personal and intellectual growth. To assist students in taking advantage of these opportunities, the university provides counseling services, which enable students to develop effective tools to overcome obstacles to their academic progress, examine personal and intellectual strengths and weaknesses, and learn skills that promote personal and intellectual development.

Links and Resources

Mandatory Insurance Information

Be advised that as an exchange student, you will be required to purchase health insurance from Mason.

More information

Insurance Details

Insurance fee payment is due the first day of classes (link: payment methods). Once you've paid the insurance fee, print your insurance ID card, and carry it with you.

PDF Downloads
2015-2016 Plan Details and Coverage
2015-2016 Insurance Plan Summary

Coverage Periods

  • Fall semester coverage starts on August 16th of every year at 12:00am. Fall semester coverage ends on January 4th of every year at 11:59pm.
  • Spring semester coverage starts on January 5th of every year at 12:00am. Spring semester coverage extends through summer and ends on August 15th of every year at 11:59pm.

HEALTH INSURANCE IS MANDATORY. IF YOUR UNIVERSITY PROVIDES STUDENT INSURANCE OR YOU HAVE YOUR OWN PROVIDER, PLEASE KNOW THAT YOU WILL STILL NEED TO PURCHASE INSURANCE FROM MASON.

How to Obtain an Exemption from George Mason University Health Insurance

This exemption is rarely granted. If you do not have insurance purchased through your U.S. employer or the U.S. government, you have to purchase Mason insurance.

According to Mason's Student Health Services, an international student may apply for a waiver/exemption in the following cases:

  • If the student has a scholarship, or government sponsored program that provides an U.S. health insurance plan for the student. National health coverage and/or travel insurance do not meet these criteria. OR
  • If the student, student’s spouse, or parent has a U.S. employer who provides health insurance for the student. OR
  • If the student has a plan obtained through the Health Insurance Marketplace as referenced at healthcare.gov.
Waiver Information

Reasons Why Insurance Is Mandatory

Exchange students come to Mason on a J-1 visa. All J-1 visa students are required under Federal mandate to have health insurance in order to attend classes. George Mason University requires J-1 and F-1 visa status students to have health insurance coverage under University Policy #6002. Therefore, the Insurance Office will automatically enroll F-1 and J-1 visa students into the school selected health plan.

Please direct all insurance-related questions to insure@gmu.edu.

Mandatory Immunization Information

Immunization Record Due Dates

Fall Semester Spring Semester
October 1 March 1

During your first few weeks on campus, you will need to bring the originals of your immunization record forms to the Mason Immunization Office, located in the Student Union Building I (SUB I), Rooms 2347 and 2348. 

Links and Resources

You may also opt out of (choose not to receive) some recommended immunizations. If you opt out, you will need to sign a waiver that states that you understand the risks of not receiving the immunization but choose not to receive it anyway.

If you are missing some immunizations, you may receive them at the Student Health Services for a modest fee.

Housing

Housing Move-in Dates Housing Move-out Dates Go to International student orientation

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate exchange students are guaranteed housing in residences on our main Fairfax Campus. International students will be assigned to housing with Mason domestic or other international students.

Securing Housing - Upon Acceptance Only

Upon acceptance, you will be given instructions on how to secure on-campus housing. You will not be placed in Traditional Halls (Presidents Park and The Commons) as those are reserved for first-year students. Although the Global Education Office (GEO) will reserve housing for you and facilitate this process, please keep in mind that housing on campus is very limited and that we cannot guarantee your first choice.

Shared Housing

Only 10% of all rooms on campus are singles (and are primarily reserved for students with disabilities).

Housing and Meal Plans

If your residence hall doesn't have a full kitchen, you will be required to purchase the Anytime Dining meal plan to be used on campus.

Read more about Dining Options

Summer Housing

  • Summer housing is unavailable unless you choose to take (and pay for) summer classes.
  • If you choose to stay in the United States over the summer (and your visa allows it), you will need to make your own housing arrangements from mid-May until the end of August.

Winter Break

  • You can stay in several dormitories on campus over winter break without an additional fee. However, you will have limited access to Mason dining and public transportation.

To request an individual extension, email housing@gmu.edu.

Room Description

You can compare housing facilities and see the amenities listed for each at Mason Housing. Some residence halls have kitchenettes and en-suite bathrooms.

PROVIDED BRING YOUR OWN
  • bed
  • desk
  • dresser
  • closet
  • bed linens
  • towels
  • toiletries
  • other personal items

There are several shopping centers located a short bus ride from campus where you can buy these items once you arrive. No matter which option you choose, you will find that living on campus is a great way to make friends and allows you easy access to classes, sports facilities, and the many activities that are available at Mason.

Graduate Students

Graduate exchange students must find their own accommodations. However, the Global Education Office (GEO) will provide you with some helpful information to aid your search. There are many houses and apartments near campus that often rent rooms to students temporarily but we recommend you begin looking for housing as soon as you confirm your acceptance.

Dining

Meal Plans

If your residence hall doesn't have a full kitchen, you will be required to purchase the Anytime Dining meal plan to be used on campus.

Catering to a diverse student population, Mason Dining Services can accommodate nearly everyone, including vegetarians and those with special dietary needs.

Residence halls without a kitchen that require you to purchase a meal plan are listed below:

Residence Halls that require a meal plan
  • Blue Ridge/Sandbridge
  • Commonwealth
  • Dominion
  • Eastern Shore
  • Hampton Roads
  • Piedmont/Tidewater
  • Whitetop

Residence halls without full in-suite kitchens may have kitchenettes (refrigerator, sink, and garbage disposal) or shared floor kitchens that you can reserve for use if you like to cook for yourself occasionally.

You do not have to purchase a meal plan if your residence hall has a full kitchen, like the residence halls listed below:

Residence Halls that do not require a meal plan
  • Apartments
  • Liberty Square
  • Northern Neck
  • Potomac Heights
  • Rogers
  • Townhouses

Adding, Changing, Dropping a Meal Plan

If you wish to add, drop, or change your meal plan, email the Mason Card Office from your gmu.edu account. Include your G number and meal plan option. You will receive a confirmation email once the request has been processed.

Campus Life

Your semester or year will begin with an orientation program hosted by the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS). During the orientation you will be introduced to campus life, academics, health services, student activities, and more. Orientation is also a great opportunity to meet other international students at Mason. Once classes begin, you will take courses and can participate in any of the many student organizations and recreational sports teams on campus - there are hundreds to choose from, no matter what your interests!

Type Description
Student Organizations Log into GetConnected with your Mason username and password to view the list of student organizations at Mason. Also, Facebook is a good tool to use when searching for an organization.
Sports and Recreation Sports facilities are free for full-time students.
You only need to pay for yoga and pilates classes ($50 per semester). You may also join sports teams - even if you're here only for one semester.
Events There is always something going on at Mason!
Today @ Mason helps you find events and activities across campuses.
Finding Offices and Departments If you need to locate a person or a department, use People Finder. Log in with your Mason username and password to view email addresses.
Library Library and Library Services
IT Services IT Services for Students
Printing Services Printing Services
Forms Registrar's Forms
Student Resources Student Resources

Part-time Jobs and Internship Information

For detailed information on employment opportunities for J-1 students, visit here. If you have any questions, contact the Office of International Programs and Services (OPIS).

Immigration is a complicated subject and there are lots of requirements for international students who want to work in the United States.

You may consider doing an internship after your first semester here – there won't be enough time for you to develop the network and/or file the necessary paperwork to do an internship during your first semester at Mason. Finding an internship for your second semester at Mason or for summer needs to start the minute you land in the U.S.

If you want to do an internship, your first step would be to talk to the Office of International Programs and Services. Then you should visit University Career Services.

There are two ways to obtain an internship: FOR CREDIT and NOT FOR CREDIT.

FOR Credit Not For Credit
If you find an internship, then you need to find an academic department through which you can get academic credit. You'll need to work with the University Career Services to find out more details.

When you receive an internship offer, bring the original offer letter to our immigration specialist at OIPS. Your J-1 visa advisor will ask you to have it approved as related to your major by our Advising Office. The Advising Office writes a letter in support of your internship, and you bring an offer letter and that letter of support back to OIPS.

OIPS evaluates both letters and writes a letter to the U.S. Government. U.S. Immigration Services then decides whether to grant you permission to proceed with the internship; if they do, you are issued a new DS-2019 that allows you to do this specific internship, which is now called "academic training".

It takes about two months from the day you are offered an internship to the day you can start to complete all of this paperwork.

Links and Resources

Hire Mason

The HireMason web site is not available for exchange students - you simply won't be able to register. Instead, you will need to sign up for the On-Campus Jobs Listserv. Here is how:

  1. Please email Nora Gerrity from your Mason email.
  2. Subject Line: “J-1 On-Campus Jobs Listserv”.
  3. Career Services sends out a list/publication of on-campus jobs weekly.
  4. Students may follow the instructions on the job description to apply. In the event the job description asks the student to apply using HireMason, the student is responsible for reaching out to the office directly to apply.

If you have any questions, contact OIPS.