I n t e rn a t i o n a l St u d e n t Handbook
We want to ensure that your life at SDSU is
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International Student Center (ISC)
I.Welcome ........................................... 2
Table of Content
Message from the ISC Director
About International Student Center
II.Immigration ...................................... 7
III. Academics .................................... 10
Table of Contents
How to Register for Classes
Tips for Crashing
Facts You Should Know
Where to Buy Books
IV. SDSU Policies ............................... 19
10 Tips to Succeed
V. Life in the United States .................. 23
Driving and Buying a Car
Gas and Electricity
Message from ISC Director
O n behalf of International Student Center, I welcome you to San Diego
State University and our community. We are thrilled that you decided to en-
roll at SDSU and we look forward to serving you during your academic career.
San Diego State is recognized nationally for its diversity and many exciting
international initiatives throughout the world. At present, over 1700 inter-
national students from more than 90 countries study at SDSU in addition to
many alumni who remain valued friends of the University and ISC.
As a University and office, our goal is to provide you and your dependents
the best in services and suppor t through the many programs and activities or-
ganized each semester. My staff and I are eager to assist you as you navigate
the SDSU system, rules, and policies and as such we highly recommend that
you seek our help and advice on a regular basis. We will do every thing we
can to make you feel at home in your new environment.
The ISC staff is proud to have you here and we wish you great success in
pursuit of your academic goals at San Diego State. We look forward to meet-
ing you in person and welcoming you to San Diego State!
Dr. Negar C. Davis
International Student Center
About International Student Center
The ISC provides services that meet the diverse needs of the SDSU international
student community and offers programs which foster global perspectives, intercul-
tural awareness, and international goodwill. The ISC is SDSU’s central source of
information and support services for incoming students, outgoing students on edu-
cation abroad programs, alumni, parents, sponsors, and other stakeholders. The ISC
works with all areas of the University for all members of the campus community to
develop effective skills and perspectives for global citizenship and leadership.
The core departments and functions of the ISC are led by:
International Student Center
Dr. Negar Davis - Director
Alison Peppers - Operations Manager
Prospective International Student Services
Kim Koenigsberger - Assistant Director
Vivian Jin - Admissions Assistant
International Student Advising
Jane Kalionzes - Associate Director
Sallie Edmondson - International Student Advisor
Dave Rudel - Assistant Director
Ryan McLemore - Education Abroad Advisor
Exchange and Sponsored Student Programs
Jessica Keith - Exchange and Sponsored Student Coordinator
Events Planning and Programming
Luísa Orticelli - Program Coordinator
ISC | Arts & Letters | Arts | Hepner Hall | Engineering | Hardy Tower | GMCS | Business
Police | I-House | ARC Gym | Viejas Arena | Health Center | ALI | Library | Bookstore | Transit | Student Services| Aztec Center
Failure to maintain your non-immigrant visa status can result in serious
immigration problems. Please be aware of the following:
• Enroll as a full time student during the Fall and Spring semesters.
Undergraduates must enroll in at least 12 units each semester. Graduates must enroll
in at least 9 units each semester. Summer session enrollment is not required.
• Maintain the validity of your passport at all times.
Contact the Consulate or Embassy of your country in the U.S. for renewal proce-
dures. If your passport is lost or stolen contact the Embassy or Consulate of your
country, and notify the ISC.
• Do not accept unauthorized employment.
All off-campus employment must be pre-authorized by the Department of Homeland
Security, or the SDSU International Student Advisors.
• On-Campus Employment
F-1 students are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week on campus while school
is in session, and up to 40 hours per week during vacation periods.
• Off Campus Employment
F-1 students are allowed to work off-campus only if after one academic year of study
they have a proven severe unforeseen economic need. This work authorization, must
be authorized by the U.S. citizenship and immigration service (USCIS).
• Update Information.
Report any change in your physical address (the address where you actually live),
email address, phone number, and home country address within 10 days in your
SDSU Web Portal. Updating your information in the Web Portal will automatically
update it in SEVIS.
Keep your I-20 or DS-2019 valid at all times. You must apply for an extension of stay
if you do not complete your program of studies at SDSU within the time specified on
the form. The extension must be completed before the form expires.
• Valid Visa Required to Enter U.S.
You must always have a valid visa in your passport when you enter the U.S. It is not
required that the visa be valid while you are in the U.S. It is only when traveling out-
side the U.S. that you must have a valid visa for re-entry.
• Obtaining a New Visa
An F or J visa can only be obtained at a U.S Embassy or Consulate outside the U.S.
There are no offices within the U.S to apply for these visa classifications. It is always
best to apply for a new visa in your home country.
The visa renewal process will be the same procedure that you followed the first time
you applied for the visa. Each time you apply for a visa you must prove to the
Consular Officer you have enough funds to continue studying, you have been a full
time student, and that you plan to return to your home country after completion of
Check the Consulate’s website for updated application procedures before your ap-
pointment. Consular and Embassy websites are found at http://usembassy.state.gov.
• Applying for a Visa in Mexico or Canada
Students who are not citizens of Mexico or Canada are not recommended to apply
for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Mexico or Canada. Please meet with an
International Student Advisor for further information.
• Form I-94 Arrival/ Departure Card
This small white card is issued to all non-immigrants at the time of arrival in the
U.S., and must remain stapled in your passport at all times. Do not lose the I-94,
as replacement is very complicated and expensive. The I-94 indicates the visa clas-
sification and the length of authorized stay in the U.S. This card is surrendered upon
departure from the U.S. and a new Form I-94 is issued upon re-entry.
August 1 Applications for admission or readmission to San Diego State University for the
spring semester 2011 accepted from domestic and international students.
August 22 First day of fall semester.
August 25 Convocation.
August 26 Last day to officially withdraw for fall semester 2011 and receive a full refund.
August 29 First day of classes.
September 5 Holiday – Labor Day. Faculty/staff holiday. Campus closed.
September 12 Last day to drop classes.
September 14 Last day to add classes or change grading basis.
September 14 Last day for payment of fees for late registration. (3:30 p.m. deadline.)
September 14 Last day to officially withdraw from the university without penalty fee for fall
September 14 Last day to file petition for concurrent master’s degree credit for fall semester
September 14 Last day to file application for graduation with an advanced degree, Division of
September 14 Last day to apply for December 2011 graduation with an advanced degree, Divi
sion of Graduate Affairs.
September 26 Census.
October 1 Applications for admission or readmission to San Diego State University for the
fall semester 2012 accepted from domestic and international (foreign) students.*
November 1 Final day for submitting theses to Aztec Shops Montezuma Publishing for thesis
review to ensure graduation in December 2011.
Nov. 2-Dec. 30 Theses may be submitted to Aztec Shops Montezuma Publishing on an at-risk
basis. However, December 2011 graduation is contingent upon completion of
final processing by noon, December 17.
November 2 Last day to officially withdraw from all classes for fall 2011 and receive a pro
rated refund (withdrawal after September 14 requires special approval and a pen
alty fee is assessed).
November 11 Holiday – Veteran’s Day. Faculty/staff holiday. Campus closed.
November 24-25 Holiday – Thanksgiving recess. Faculty/staff holiday. Campus closed.
November 30 Last day for submission of incomplete and RP grade removals (excluding thesis)
for December 2011 graduation with an advanced degree.
December 9 Last day of classes before final examinations.
December 9 Last day for reporting results on comprehensive examinations to the Division of
Graduate Affairs by department or college.
December 10-17 Final examinations.
December 17 Final day for depositing approved theses at Aztec Shops Montezuma Publishing.
December 26-29 Holiday – Winter recess. Faculty/staff holiday. Campus closed.
December 30 Campus open. No classes.
December 30 Grades due from instructors. (11 p.m. deadline.)
December 30 Last day to apply for a leave of absence for fall semester 2011.
December 30 Last day for submitting theses for the current term.
December 30 Last day of fall semester.
January 2 Holiday – New Year’s Day observed. Faculty/staff holiday. Campus closed.
How to Register for Classes
1. Go to “My Registration” on your WebPortal account. View your registration date and
time, fee payment information, and registration holds through “My Registration.”
2. Pay your fees by your fee payment deadline and clear any registration holds. Details
are provided at “My Registration.”
3. Register online through “My Registration.” See the Academic Calendar for the Sched-
ule Adjustment Deadline. No classes may be added or dropped after this date.
My Registration Information and Registration Tools
S ea rc h O pt i o n s | Search options display course titles; section and schedule num-
bers; units; days and times; locations; instructors; and the numbers of open seats.
• Browse by Department: Allows you to view all of the classes in a specific academic
• Browse by General Education (GE): Completing your GE requirements should be a top
priority when registering for classes! The “Browse by GE” feature allows you to specify
the catalog year under which you entered the university. A list of applicable courses for
that year will be generated for each GE category (i.e. humanities, explorations, etc.).
You may then choose courses that will count toward satisfying your GE requirements.
• Browse by College: Choose this option to browse the course offerings in one of the
seven colleges: Arts & Letters, Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Health
& Human Services, Professional Studies & Fine Arts, and Sciences.
My W i s h L i s t | “My Wish List” is a list of classes you have indicated you may
want to take. Having classes on your Wish List DOES NOT mean you are enrolled in
them. The class could potentially fill up prior to your registration date. When you are
searching for classes, click on “Wish” to have the class added to your Wish List. When
you are ready to enroll in a Wish List class, follow the procedures to add a class.
Ad d a C l a s s | You may add classes while using any of the search options. While
viewing a list of classes, choose the “ADD” option on the right side. Choosing this op-
tion will take you to a page where you must confirm your enrollment in the class. Be
sure the course has been added before moving on.
If you know the schedule number of the course you wish to add, choose the “Add a
Class” option from the menu on the left. Enter a schedule number and add code to add
a course to your current class schedule (if you are adding once classes have begun).
D r o p a C l a s s/S u b s t i tu te a C l a s s | You may drop a class through “My Reg-
istration,” or you may substitute one class for another by entering the schedule number
of the course you wish to drop and the schedule number of the course you wish to add,
the system will perform a search to see if your desired course is available. If it is, then
you may substitute that class for the one you want to drop. Through using the substitu-
tion function, you will not drop one class until you are sure you are able and eligible to
get into another one.
My C l a s ses | Choosing the “My Classes” option displays the courses in which you
are currently enrolled. From this page, you may drop or substitute any of them. This op-
tion also allows you to view your schedule in a timetable format.
C l a s s S e l ec t i o n T i p s fo r U n d e rg ra d u a te S tu d e nt s | In contrast to
other educational systems, in the US you have the freedom to choose your own classes,
and for most first-year students, these classes will be in General Education (GE) or Pre-
requisite courses for your major. There are some resources that can help you select your
• The most useful is the Major Academic Plans (MAP) website. Find them at:
http://www.sdsu.edu/mymap. The MAP website can help you identify General
Education classes and recommend an effective sequence of classes that meets
major requirements. When you choose classes, have your MAP for reference. In
this website you will find the link to the Academic Advising Center, http://arweb.
• An important resource is the SDSU General Catalog http://www.sdsu.edu/cata
log. The Catalog describes all undergraduate majors and classes. It also has infor-
mation on course requirements and policies. When you choose your classes, have
this resource available for reference.
In order to help you use the resources available to you, the International Student
Center created a video about the Class registration process, please view it at:
• For those students who are transferring from a community college
or University within the USA, a good resource to see what classes will
transfer based on your major would be the Transfer Admission Planner, found at:
Tips for Crashing
• If the course you want is full and you cannot register, first consider other options. Is
this a required course or optional? Will it be offered next semester? Can you fill your
schedule with other necessary classes?
• Next, you may want to “crash” the course, which is the term used for the process
of trying to enroll in a closed course.
• Every department uses a different policy to determine who may crash in available
seats. Therefore, it is important to contact the department to see if the department
has a set procedure for crashing a course.
• Steps to crash a course:
1. Contact the instructor and ask if they might accept crashers for their
course, and what the policy is. Politeness will work in your favor. Usually
you will be required to attend the first 1-2 lectures and sign a
2. If you do not receive a reply, attend the first day of class anyway. If the
instructor does not announce the crashing policy, ask after class is over.
3. If the instructor wishes to admit you, he or she will give you an add code.
Log onto the Web Portal and enter in the schedule number and add code.
Facts You Should Know
• As an international undergraduate student you must enroll in 12 units minimum and
have a grade point average (G.P.A) of 2.0 each semester. As an international graduate
student you must enroll in 9 units minimum each semester.
• To receive a full refund you must officially withdraw, or otherwise cancel your reg-
istration, prior to the first day of class. A refund administrative fee of $21.00 will be
withheld. Students are not required to file a refund application.
• Starting with the first day of instruction, refunds for complete withdrawal or cancel-
lation of registration will be based on the percentage of time you are enrolled in the
course. A refund administrative fee of $21.00 will be withheld. It is not necessary to
file an application for refund.
• You are responsible to drop any unwanted classes by the drop deadline or add any
classes by the add deadline. You will be responsible to pay for any courses you do not
14| • You must have a correct address on file with SDSU through your Web Portal.
• Review all of your syllabi and plan ahead!!!
• The rule of thumb for college students is 2 hours of study for every 1 hour in
class. For example, a full time student taking 12 units generally require 12 hours
of class attendance and 24-30 hours of study per week.
Where to study:
The Love Library, Dome and the Reference Book Room (RBR) provide a variety of study
space for students.
Reserve Book Room (RBR):
• Computer and study area.
• 2nd Floor – Quiet Room, 24/7 Study Area (food allowed)
• 1st Floor - Reference Services, Quiet Room
• Basement - Laptop Lounge (food allowed)
• Tables, chairs, and study carrels are available throughout these areas.
• 1st Floor – Periodicals, Quiet Study Room, Copy Service Center, Asian Collections
• 2ndFloor – Student Computing Center, Type writer, Scanner SCC HelpDesk
• 3rdFloor – Study Lounge (food allowed)
• 4th Floor – Bookstacks, Quiet Study Area, Curriculum Collection
• 5th Floor - Bound Periodicals, Bookstacks
• Tables, chairs, and study carrels are available throughout these areas
Group Studies with Reservation: These rooms are available to study groups of three or
more students on a reservation basis. ID cards will be required. Rooms can be reserved
up to one week in advance at the 24/7 Study Area Help Desk.
Group Studies without Reservations: Available to study groups of three or more students
on a first-come, first-serve basis (no room reservations required).
(Rooms are equipped with table, chairs, and whiteboards).
The STAR Centers (Students Taking Academic Responsibility) are an academic resource
center for all residence hall students. The centers help create a positive, academically-
orientated environment to help residence hall students achieve academic success.
Where to Buy Books
The SDSU Bookstore, located in the heart of campus, carries every textbook (required
and optional) for every class taught at SDSU. It offers students a “personalized book-
list,” a computer print-out showing the textbooks they need for the classes in which
they are registered. New students can also take advantage of the bookstore’s “EZ
Books” program, which allows them to reserve their textbooks online and pick them
up the week before classes start. Check out the page at: http://www.sdsubookstore.
Sto r e H o u r s
Monday –Thursday 8:00a.m. – 7:00p.m.
Friday 8:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.
Saturday 10:00a.m. – 3:00pm
KB Books is private bookstore and it is a favorite choice for SDSU students in discount
text books and school supplies. It is conveniently located right off the footbridge for
all your school needs.
Sto r e H o u r s
Monday - Thursday 9:00am – 5:00p.m.
Friday 9:00am – 4:00p.m.
Saturday 10:00am – 3:00pm
*** The Aztec Bookstore and KB Books
will have extended hours during first few
weeks of classes.
Purchase textbooks from Web sites:
amazon.com | cheapbooks.com | half.com | ebay.com |
abebooks.com | valorebooks.com | textbooksrus.com | betterworldbooks.com |
textbooklink.com | biblio.com | textbooks.com | ecampus.com | biggerbooks.com
Walk-in bookstores in San Diego:
Aztec Bookstore | KB Books | Barnes and Nobel bookstore | Borders bookstore
Rent Books from Web sites:
16| chegg.com | campusbookrentals.com | bookrenter.com
RED ID|SDSU Cards
SDSU card is the official identification card for San Diego State University. The SDSU
card contains your “Red ID number”. Your “Red ID number” refers to the number on
the SDSU card that can be used in place of your social security number.
This multi-functional form of identification card provides increased usability and shop-
ping convenience on campus. As a student, your SDSUcard provides you with access
to the following facilities and services on campus:
• Campus library - borrowing privileges, research and computer access
• Meal Plan for residence hall students
• Student verification for sport events, career services, health services and ARC
• SDSU Funds™ Account - deposit money on your SDSUcard and pay for services
H ow to G et yo u r S D S U c a rd
*During New International Student Orientation, you will receive your Red ID card.
A. Obtain a Red ID number when you apply to the university.
B. Submit a request for your SDSU card. There are 3 payment options available:
1. You may mail your payment along with your registration fees via US mail.
Send payment to:
West Commons Rm# 118
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-7850
2. Or, you may pay for your ID card fee online by going to
a. Under Online Services click Online Student Account Services
b. Enter a student ID (Red ID) and student password.
c. At the top click Make Payment
d. From the list of options click Fall Registration Fees, Tuition, Parking,
ID Card Menu.
e. Now select either $5 for the first card or $10 for a replacement.
f. Click Add to Basket, then Checkout, please read the Cashnet Smartpay Terms
then Continue Checkout.
g. Please enter appropriate payment information and proceed to checkout.
3. Or, you can also choose to be billed later at the SDSU card Office. The bill
will be emailed to the student’s registered email.
C. Visit the SDSU card Office, we’ll take your photo, and in about 2 minutes your
card will be ready.
L os t o r S to l e n S D S U Ca rd
Report lost cards to the SDSU card office either in person or by calling 619-594-6800. If
the missing card contains a funds balance, we can “deactivate” the card to prevent oth-
ers from using it. We will then supply you with a replacement card. You must come in
person to pick-up the card. We refer to your file and picture on system for identification.
Payments may be made online at www.sdsu.edu/sas.
D i r ec t i o n s to S D S U Ca r d O f f i c e
SDSUcard Office is located in West Commons Office Rm #118. We are located directly
to the right of the entrance to West Commons from Parking Structure 4. If entering from
the US Bank door, go straight and will be the office past the Aztec Market on your left-
• Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
• General Information: 619-594-6800
• Mailing Address:
West Commons Rm# 118
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-7850
SDSU Card Office
Parking Lot 4
IV. SDSU Policies
10 Tips to Succeed
1. Be punctual! Professors in the U.S. start class at the exact time class is scheduled to
start. If your class begins at 9 a.m., you should be there at 8:57 a.m. If you walk in at
9:05 a.m., the teacher will mark you late!
2. Ask questions. Professors in the U.S. do not take offense to students who ask ques-
tions. In fact, they appreciate being asked questions. If you ask a question, it means
you are paying attention in class and are interested in the subject. If you are quiet the
whole time, the teacher will think you are bored or don’t care.
R e m e m b e r – raise your hand when you have a question.
3. Respect your professor, staff and classmates. In the U.S., all people are equal, no
matter where they come from or their ideas or religions. This means we need to treat
everyone with respect. Most of your classes will include discussion as well as lecture.
When other people are speaking, listen to what they are saying and try to understand
their ideas, even if you don’t agree.
4. Speak English. Often it is difficult to speak only English when you are sitting in class
with friends from your native country, but you are here to learn English! The best way
to learn is to practice, practice, practice! This means even with your friends in the
classroom. We think it is great that you speak another language, but you are already an
expert at that language and no one can take that from you. Now is the time to speak
English and learn as much as you can.
5. Ask if you can eat in the classroom. Many instructors don’t mind if you eat or drink
in the classroom but some do. It is not considered disrespectful to eat while in class but
you should ask your instructors whether they allow it or not.
6. Turn in your assignments on time. Most instructors collect homework at the very
beginning of class. You need to have it completed before you arrive to class. Homework
is a very important part of learning a new subject. You must complete all of your assign-
ments on time if you want to get good grades in your classes.
7. Don’t cheat! In some countries it is common for students to cheat on their assign-
ments. In the U.S. cheating is not acceptable. Students may fail a class for cheating on
even the smallest assignment. This means, you cannot copy your friend’s homework
answers, test answers, or have someone else write your essays for you. Often it is en-
couraged to work with other students on assignments but you need to write your own
answers, not theirs. Do not write anything down that you don’t agree with or under-
stand or you will be caught!
8. Get a classmate’s phone number and email address. If you miss a class or forget
what the assignment is, you will still need to turn in your assignments on time. You
should make a friend in each class so you will have someone to ask about what you
missed or have them turn in your homework for you when you are sick. In fact, find two
or three people instead of just one so you will have all the information you need. Your
instructors don’t take notes so they can’t tell you what you missed.
9. Use the restroom when you need to. You don’t have to wait until the end of class
to use the restroom and you don’t need to ask your instructor if you are allowed to go.
Simply go when you need to!
10. Turn off your cell phone in class. Your instructor will not allow you to answer phone
calls during class and a ring tone in the middle of class is considered very rude. If you
forget to turn it off and you hear your phone ring, quickly stop it from ringing and go
back to doing what you were doing. Try not to draw attention to it.
Plagiarism is a form of cheating. Plagiarism is formal work publicly misrepresented as
original; it is any activity wherein one person knowingly, directly, and for lucre, sta-
tus, recognition, or any public gain resorts to the published or unpublished work of
another in order to represent it as one’s own. Work shall be deemed plagiarism: (1)
when prior work of another has been demonstrated as the accessible source; (2) when
substantial or material parts of the source have been literally or evasively appropriated
(sub¬stance denoting quantity; matter denoting qualitative format or style); and (3)
when the work lacks sufficient or unequivo¬cal citation so as to indicate or imply that
the work was neither a copy nor an imitation. This definition comprises oral, written,
and crafted pieces.
San Diego State University is a publicly assisted institution legislatively empowered to
certify competence and accomplishment in general and discrete categories of knowl-
edge. The president and faculty of this university are therefore obligated not only to
society at large but to the citizenry of the State of California to guarantee honest and
substantive knowledge in those to whom they assign grades and whom they recom-
mend for degrees.
The objective of university endeavor is to advance humanity by increasing and refin-
ing knowledge and is, therefore, ill served by students who indulge in plagiarism.
Accordingly, one who is suspected or accused of disregarding, concealing, aiding,
or commit¬ting plagiarism must, because of the gravity of the offense, be assured
of thorough, impartial, and conclusive investigation of any accusation. Likewise, one
must be liable to an appropriate penalty, even severance from the university and in
some cases revocation of an advanced degree, should the demonstrated plagiarism
clearly call into question one’s general competence or accomplishments.
V. Life in the United States
In general, San Diego is a safe place to live. But as in any large city, there are precau-
tions to take and situations to avoid to help ensure your personal safety. Please read
the following guidelines designed to help you avoid various kinds of problems.
On the Street
• Don’t walk alone after dark.
• Stay on populated, well-lit streets.
• Be aware of your surroundings! Make it difficult for anyone to take you by surprise.
• If you think someone is following you, turn around and check. Change direction, go
towards people, light or traffic. If you yell, ”Fire!” you will get more attention from
others than yelling, “Help!”
• Use good locks on your doors and keep doors locked at all times.
• For security reasons, do not keep large amounts of money in your apartment or
dorm room. If you have a large amount of money in cash, it is important to keep it in
a checking or savings account at a bank, or convert it to traveler’s checks, which may
be replaced if lost or stolen.
• Keep lights on when you are away.
• Always check to see who is at the door before you answer or open it! Request iden-
tification from repair people, police and other officials before letting them in.
• Get to know your neighbors so you can get help if necessary.
In the Car
• Make sure your car is in good working order and has plenty of gas.
• Keep your car locked and check the seats and floor of your car before getting in.
• Have your keys ready before you reach the car. Get in quickly. Lock the doors and
roll up the windows after entering the car.
• Never pick up hitch hikers.
• If you are followed by another car, drive to a police or fire station or any business or
gas station. Do not drive to your home or to a friend’s house.
• In the bus or trolley, sit near the conductor or driver, or near other riders. (Women,
try to sit next to another woman who is older.)
• Keep an eye on your belongings.
• Do not leave your books and other belongings unattended in the library.
• After dark, do not walk on campus alone. Use the Escort Services (619-594-6659
or 46659 on a campus phone) to arrange for an escort to accompany you to your car,
public transportation or campus residence.
If you find yourself in a case of emergency, immediately dial 9-1-1!!! For other less
urgent cases look at the Emergency Contacts.
San Diego Authorities (non-emergency)
- Police (619) 531-2065
- Fire Department (858) 974-9891
- San Diego Paramedics (858) 974-9792
- Poison Control Center 1-800-876-4766
- Emergency Services & Travel 1-888-871-4636
San Diego State University
- SDSU Information Center (619) 594-5200
- University Police (619) 594-1991
- SDSU Health Services (619) 594-4325
- International Student Center (619) 594-1982
- Alvarado Community Hospital (619) 287-3270
- Grossmont Hospital (619) 740-6000
- Sharp Mary Birch Hospital (858) 541-3400
- Scripps Mercy Hospital (619) 294-8111
- UCSD Medical Center (619) 543-0205
- Crisis Team Hotline(Drug Abuse) 1-800-479-3339
Rape Crisis Hotline (858) 272-1767
- Crisis Pregnancy Center (619) 337-8080
- Planned Parenthood (619) 585-4779
- Domestic Violence Hotline 1-888-385-4657
- Mission Valley Medical Clinic (619) 295-3335
- Mercy Clinic (619) 260-7022
- University Square Med Clinic (619) 584-3215
• Please visit the San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System website:
• Click on “MAPS & TIMETABLES” for maps and schedule of specific bus routes.
• Click on “Trip Planner” to show you how to get from one place to another by bus
• Bus and Trolley: $1.50-$2.25 per trip
• Day tripper Passes are valid for all buses and trolley and may be purchased for 1 to
4 dates($5 to $15)
• Tokens can be purchased in packs of 20 for $45
• Monthly passes and student semester passes may be purchased at the Aztec Center
Ticket Office with SDSU ID card.
Bus Routes from San Diego State University:
11, 14, 15, 115, 856, 936, 955
Trolley from San Diego State University:
From the Green Line Trolley at SDSU:
• Santee Direction:
Avarado Hospital | 70th Street | Grossmont | Transit Center (connect to Orange Line
to La Mesa, Downtown) | Amaya Drive | El Cajon Transit Center | Amele Avanue,
Gillespie Field, Santee.
• Old Town Direction:
Grantville | Qualcomm Stadium | Fenton Parkway (Costco, Ikea) | Mission San Diego
(24 hour Fitness) | Rio Vista (Ross, Sears) | Mission Valley (Mission Valley Mall) |
Hazard Center | Fashion Valley Mall | Morena/Linda Vista | Old Town (connect to Blue
Line to downtown, then Mexican border)
Driving in California
To drive in California, you must have a valid California driver’s license or a valid
driver’s license from your home country. If you have an international driving license( a
translation of your home country’s license), keep it with your home country’s license
while driving. To operate a motorcycle, you must have a special California
California Driver’s License:
California’s Department of Motor Vehicles(DMV) requires you to have a California
driver’s license if you plan to own and/or drive a car while living in California, even if
you have a valid international driver’s license.
How to get a California Driver’s License?
Make an appointment by calling your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or
visiting their website at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/home/dmv.htm
To get a California Driver’s License you need to:
- Present Social Security Card (If you do not have one, tell the DMV clerk that
you are an F1 international student who is not working and therefore you are
not eligible for a SSN.)
- Show a valid passport, I-94 card and SEVIS I-20.
- Be 16 years or above.
- Pass the written DMV test.
- Pay the $28 fee for a driver’s license.
- Pass the DMV vision test.
- Give your thumb prints.
- Your driver’s license from your home country, if you have one.
- Pass the driving test.
Local DMV Office:
3960 Normal Street
The following driving schools offer “behind-the-wheel” instruction to prepare you for
the driving test given by DMV. These schools are merely suggestions. We recommend
that you contact them or other schools which you can find online or through the “Yel-
low Pages” under “Driving Schools” and choose the one with which you feel comfort-
able. There is a charge for driving instructions.
1. Safety School of Driving (619) 442-1544
2. Carbank Driving School (858) 278-2332
3. Teen Driving School (619) 282-7900
Driving (Do’s and Don’ts)
- Driving in the U.S. may be a different experience than you’ve had in the past.
California can be a very dangerous place to drive.
- Please be a courteous driver. This means:
• Do not weave between cars
• Do not tailgate (don’t drive very close to the back of the
car in front of you)
• Do not speed
- Never drive after drinking; Do not carry any opened bottle, can or container of
alcohol in your car.
- Do not use your cell phone while driving including texting.
- Be extra cautious in bad weather.
- In general, drive at the same speed as the other cars on the road, do not drive
slower or faster.
- Make sure everyone in the car wears seatbelts at all times.
- Give pedestrians the right of way.
If you are stopped by the police:
- Stay in your car.
- Keep both hands on the steering wheel.
- Roll down the window.
- Show the police officer your license and registration.
- Never offer the police officer money.
How to Deal with Car Accidents
- Never admit fault.
- Don’t get out of the car.
- You can get out out in case of smoking or leakage from your car.
- Call the Police-911.
- Get contact information, driver’s license and insurance information of the other
- Call your insurance company as soon as possible.
- Don’t file a false claim.
Buying a Car
To buy a car, you will first need to decide if you want to buy a new or used car.
Buying a New Car
If you are interested in buying a new car, shop around for different cars and models.
Compare prices; watch for “dealer specials”; be sure that you know what equipment
is included in the price of the car, what is optional and available for an additional cost.
You may wish to get advice from people not directly involved in selling cars or consult
Consumer Reports, a magazine which evaluates and rates commercial products, in-
cluding automobiles. The magazine is available on news stands.
Buying a Used Car
One advantage of buying a used car is a lower car insurance rate. The disadvantage
is the risk of expensive repair and the additional cost of maintaining the car. It is ad-
visable to have a used car thoroughly checked by a reputable mechanic who is not a
friend or acquaintance of the seller. This may cost you a little money, but it can help
you avoid buying a car which is in poor condition. Fair market prices for used cars can
be obtained at most banks by asking for the “Blue Book” prices. Official “Blue Book”
are also kept in most public libraries. For fair market values listed on-line, go to
Where to Look for a Car
• Private Advertisements: Advertisements can be found in local newspapers like the
San Diego Union/Tribune, Reader, etc.
• Auto Trader: The Auto Trader is a catalog of local used cars for sale and is sold at
local supermarkets and other retail stores(i.e., 7-11 stores, gas stations, etc.) To view
ads online, go to www.autotrader.com.
• Car Dealerships: Car dealerships usually offer both new and used cars, foreign and
• Internet: You can find other classified ads on the Internet via websites such as
www.craigslist.com , www.cars.com , or www.kbb.com; or do a search using key-
words “San Diego” and “cars”.
• On Campus: Check the bulletin boards at International Student Center and around
If you are planning to buy a car on credit, be sure to compare financing charges.
Dealers are required by law to tell you the total interest costs. These vary widely
from dealer to dealer and can raise the price of your car substantially. Financing costs
can amount to 20%-30% of the total cost of the car. Also, check with a number of
banks. Financing through a bank is sometimes preferable to financing through an
automobile dealer. 29
Before signing any sales contracts, be sure that you have read all the fine prints and
understand all the details. People often feel uncomfortable asking what some of the
legal terminology on the contract means. To avoid seeming unknowledgeable, some
buyers may sign the sales contract without understanding everything on it. Later, they
have to pay more than they anticipated. It is difficult to understand all the legal terms
used, so it may be necessary to ask specific questions about the contract. It may be
very costly if you sign something you do not understand. Remember you are legally
responsible when you sign a contract.
Do not drive in the U.S. without insurance for your car-It is the law! In cases of ac-
cidents which involve injuries or death of a person or damage to property or another
vehicle, you may be responsible for the damages incurred. These costs can vary great-
ly and may even involve jail time. You should get the advice of a good insurance agent
regarding policies that best suit your needs.You must show proof of car insurance to
register your car in California and to any police officer who stops you.
How to Get Auto Insurance
In California the law requires a minimum insurance of “liability coverage”. “Property
damage” insurance is optional on your car. It is highly recommended that you pur-
chase “uninsured motorist” coverage, as well.
Auto Insurance Companies
Rates and fees vary. Try to call several companies to find the best policy for you.
Some auto insurance companies are listed below:
• State Farm Insurance
6663 El Cajon Blvd.
Phone: (619) 668-5414
• Allstate Insurance
6957 El Cajon Blvd.
Phone: (619) 460-0579
All cars (new and used) must be registered with the DMV office. Bring the following
with you to the DMV:
1. Pink Slip (proof of ownership) with proper signatures (of former owner/dealer).
2. Proof of auto insurance.
3. Smog certificate (must be provided and paid for by previous owner before you
pay for the car).
4. Current registration (from previous owner).
5. Your valid driver’s license.
RENTING A CAR
There are several local and national car rental companies with offices located in the
San Diego area. In many cases, only drivers 21 years of age or over and who have a
major credit card are eligible to rent. Many car rental agencies will provide the pick
you up and drop off service.
Car rental agencies:
• Dirt Cheap Car Rental
3860 Rosecrans Street
Phone: (619) 234-9300
3180 N. Harbor Drive
Phone: (619) 688-5000
1904 Hotel Circle North
Phone: (619) 574-6975
4930 El Cajon Blvd
Phone: (619) 229-2300
Mobile phones are perhaps the most convenient telephone type to have. It is com-
mon for students to have a cell phone while in the U.S. Phones can cost from $0-200,
depending on the plan purchased with the phone (some plans include the cell phone
while other require you to buy one).
There are two types of cell phone plans:
1. Contract Service: this requires you to use the phone for 1-2 years or pay a
cancellation fee, if you cancel your service before your contract ends. They will ask
for a social security number, if you do not have one, you must pay a deposit with the
phone. Phone companies return this deposit in about 3-9 months after your contract
2. Pre-paid Service: this service does not require any deposit or social security
number. There is no fixed time limit or contract; however, these plans can be more
expensive, depending on how many minutes you use each month.
Some Local Cellphone Stores
1. Ve r i zo n
• 4G Wireless SDSU • BESTBUY
6011 El Cajon Blvd 8401 Fletcher Parkway
San Diego, CA 92115 La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 229-1294 (619) 668-8959
2. AT &T
• 2011 Camino Del Este North • CELLULAR WORLD
San Diego, CA 92108 6945 Federal Blvd.
(619) 293-4630 Lemon Grove, CA 91945
3. T- M o b i l e
• RADIO SHACK • University Ave & 58th St (8936)
4585 College Ave # 4B 5807 University Ave Ste 6
San Diego, CA 92115 San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 265-0477 (619) 583-2398
• 10389 Friars Rd • 3428 College Avenue
San Diego, CA 92120 San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 640-5000 (619) 229-6788
Home Phone, Internet and Cable Television Services
You may wish to have a home phone, Internet service and/or cable television service.
These services may be included in a package. Check with the companies below to see
what types of packages they offer, and how to open an account with them. Also, check
with each company whether they need your SSN for opening an account.
1. Time Warner www.timewarnercable.com (858) 695-3220
2. COX www.cox.com (619) 262-1122
3. AT&T www.att.com 1-800-288-2020
Long Distance Dialing Service
When ordering local service you will have a choice of several long-distance telephone
companies. You will need long distance service to call anywhere outside of San Diego
or you can use a phone card. If you do not want distance service, be sure to ask your
service provider that you are not automatically charged for it.
There is a variety of prices and services offered by long distance companies. You
can search for these companies online or under the “Telephone Communications Compa-
nies” in the yellow pages.
Inside the US: First dial 1, then the area code and then the phone number.
Overseas: Dial 011, then the country and city code, and then the phone number. See the
front of the White Pages in your telephone book for country and city codes.
Phone Cards/ Calling Cards
You can use a phone card to make long distance calls. Phone cards have relatively
cheaper long distance rates. Phone cards are sold for $5-$50 with a good rate for inter-
national calls ranging from 3-10cents per minute (depending on the card and country you
are calling). You can buy phone cards at convenience stores and supermarkets or online.
Gas & Electricity
You will need to arrange gas and electricity services if you live in an off-campus
apartment. In order to issue your service order, the company may request you to visit
one of its offices or authorized locations and submit your social security card and a
valid picture ID. A valid driver’s license, I-94 and Passport are all acceptable forms of
valid ID documents.
For a list of authorized locations near you, please call SDG&E Customer Contact Center:
San Diego Gas and Electric
San Diego has a variety of grocery stores to choose from. Many people shop at more
than one grocery store each time they need food.
• Ralph’s, Vons, and Albertson’s are all good for basic needs. If you apply for a “club card” at
each of these places you will get discounts on many of their products.
• Trader Joe’s has low-priced foods that are healthier. The store has many ethnic options and
a good variety of foods. For store locations and hours of operation, please visit:
http://traderjoes.com/Attachments/SC _ loc.pdf
• Henry’s Marketplace is the perfect place for California grown produce. It’s always
cheap and always fresh. For store locations in your area, please visit:
• Farmers’ Markets are held almost every day of the week, except Mondays, in differ-
ent locations in the San Diego County. You can buy fresh vegetables, fruits and flow-
ers here from the local farmers at very affordable prices. For schedule of all San Diego
country farmers’ markets, please visit:
• Costco is a large membership club chain that sells bulk-packaged products at low
prices. You can buy basic need goods and produce here in large quantities at
discounted prices. For store locations in California, please visit:
To find other cultural foods try one of the following places:
• African Caribbean Food Market
4811 El Cajon Blvd; Phone: 619-229-0032
• Zodiak Hooka Lounge (Arab)
6455 El Cajon Blvd. ; Phone: 619-326-6800
• Ranch 99 Market (Asian)
7330 Clairemont Mesa Blvd; Phone: 658-565-7799
• SF Market (Thuan Phat- Vietnamese)
6935 Linda Vista Rd (at Ulric St), Phone: 858-565-0398
• First Korean Market
4625 Convoy Street; Phone: 658-278 8303
• Hing Long Oriental Food Market
4644 El Cajon Blvd. ; Phone: 619-563-9986
• Orient Valley Food Market
9879 Carmel Mountain Rd; Phone: 858-484-9637
• Mitsuwa Market Place
4240 Kearny Mesa Rd #119; Phone: 858-569-6699
• European Market
4135 Park Blvd. ; Phone: 619-298-8660
• Filippi’s (Italian)
1747 India Street; Phone: 619-232-5094
• Mona Lisa (Italian)
2059 India Street; Phone: 619-239-5367
• Solunto’s Bakery & Deli (Italian)
6043 India Street; Phone: 619-233-0595
• Gigante (Mexican)
3175 National Ave; Phone: 619-595-1841
• Aria International Market (Middle East)
2710 Garnet Ave; Phone: 858-274-9632
• Persian International Market & Deli
4020 Convoy Street; Phone: 858-277-7277
• Andre’s Latin American Market
1249 Morena Blvd; Phone: 619-275-6523
• Guatemala Market
4252 University Ave; Phone: 619-282-2327
International students are allowed to work on campus without additional authorization
from the Department of Homeland Security for up to 20 hours per week while school
is in session and full time during vacation periods. Students are encouraged to only
seek on-campus work after they have adjusted to student life at SDSU, unless the job
is a part of the academic program.
Where to look for a job?
International students work in all areas of the SDSU campus. The best way to look
for an on-campus job is to go to different departments and offices and ask for any
Please note that many on-campus employers require proof from the ISC that the
student is eligible to work on-campus before they will give a job offer. The ISC On-
Campus Work Verification Form is available at the ISC front desk.
Social Security Number (SSN)
International students who will work on campus must first obtain a Social Security
number. A Social Security number is an identification number required for working in
the US. The US Social Security Administration now requires a documentation letter
from both the on-campus employer and the ISC before they will issue a Social Secu-
rity number. The following information will explain how to obtain the Social Security
Steps to Follow
1. Obtain the ISC “On-Campus Work Verification Form”
2. Apply for on-campus job and receive job offer from employer
3. Go to the payroll office for that employer to obtain the employer’s letter for
4. Submit employer’s letter to ISC and complete the ISC “Social Security
5. Pick up letters at ISC and go to Social Security office – It is advisable to wait
until you have been in the US at least 7-10 days before going to the
Social Security Office
What you will need to provide at the Social Security Office:
1. SEVIS I-20
2. Passport and I-94 Card
3. Letter from Designated School Official stating that you are authorized to work
4. Letter offering employment from your prospective employer
Social Security Office near SDSU
7961 University Ave.
La Mesa, CA 91942
National Toll-Free 1-800-772-1213
For more information, or to find the nearest Social Security Administration office visit
the Social Security Administration website: www.ssa.gov
We are very excited
to help and guide you into
your life as a
San Diego State University Aztec!