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MIT | ISO | International Students Office
ISO Newsletter
April 16, 2021
ANNOUNCEMENTS
Reminder: Income Tax Filing Deadline is May 17, 2021
Tax Workshop: Recording & Slides available here 
Students are required to file income tax returns for all who had been physically present in the U.S. during the 2020 calendar year. Students physically inside the U.S. during 2020, whether they worked or not, are required to file an income tax return. The usual deadline is April 15 of each year; however, the deadline for federal and Massachusetts state income tax forms for year 2020 was extended to May 17, 2021.

A brief overview of the available tax resources are as follows:

Tax Guidance for Non-Resident Tax Filers
The MIT Office of the Vice President for Finance, in cooperation with the International Scholars Office (ISchO) and the International Students Office (ISO), created a website for foreign nationals to provide resources and links related to receiving payments from MIT and guidance on income taxes. This is the best place to start with any questions about taxes and filing your income tax returns. 

MIT Tax Workshops Presentation Recordings/Slidedecks
On March 2, 2021, MIT hosted Tax Workshops for MIT students and scholars regarding the filing the 2020 calendar year income tax returns.

The Workshop recordings and slidedecks are posted on the MIT VPF “How to Get Tax Help” webpage.  

Additional tax information for international students and scholars is available on the VPF website.

Glacier Tax Prep Software
The ISO makes available to MIT international students for free a license for the Glacier Tax Prep software to assist in completing the Federal income tax return. The software is available here

By the end of February 2021, any students who have worked at MIT during 2020, including receiving assistantships or fellowships, should have received the necessary documents needed to complete their income tax returns by the May 17 deadline.
USCIS Announces I-765 Applications for F-1 OPT & STEM OPT Can Be Filed Online
Awaiting Clarifications on Photo Procedures
On April 12, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that F-1 students applying for F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) or F-1 STEM Optional Practical Training Extension (STEM OPT), using Form I-765, can be filed online.  Applications can also continue to be filed by mail.  
 
The option of filing online is only available to F-1 students filing Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization for F-1 Pre- or Post-Completion OPT, or F-1 STEM OPT.  Online I-765 filing is not available for J-2 work permission applications.  
 
However, for the reasons described below, until confirmations about application photos are received from USCIS, the MIT ISO is advising that student continue to file PAPER applications by MAIL to USCIS. 
 
Colleges/universities have reached out to USCIS for clarification on how the required photos, needed for OPT and STEM OPT applications, will be received.  Currently, individuals who file other application types with USCIS online, where the applications require biometrics (photos and/or fingerprints), are notified to schedule an in-person appointment with USCIS Application Support Centers to have photos and fingerprints completed.  Due to COVID-19, many of these support centers are not currently open, have limited appointment hours, or have significant backlogs that could delay Form I-765 processing times. 
 
The ISO will provide updates as soon as received from USCIS.
 
To read the full USCIS announcement, click here.     
 
Information for F-1 visa holders on Optional Practical Training (OPT) or STEM Optional Practical Training (STEM OPT) is available on the ISO “Employment” webpage.
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Monday, April 19 Holiday Closing
ISO and MIT other offices closed for Patriot's Day
The ISO will be closed Monday, April 19, 2021 for the Patriot's Day holiday. This holiday is observed only in Massachusetts and Maine and is in commemoration of the American Revolutionary War. 
ISO SPONSORED EVENTS


Cooking with Antoinette
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
12:00 Noon EST

Join ISO staff member Antoinette as she teaches us again how to make two simple and fun recipes. You don't have to cook both recipes, only what you are most interested in. Or just observe! See ingredient flyers. 

Zoom Link here

Sign up requested but not required
 

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Navigating MIT Series - Spring 2021
Next Session: Stress Management during COVID-19

Thursday, April 22, 2021 - I:00 PM EST


Sign up for each virtual session at this link
 
Various topics to support international students with adjustment to MIT and the U.S. during the spring semester. Most topics are repeated from the fall semester since some students have newly arrived for the spring. Open to all international students.

All sessions will be held virtually over Zoom. Even if you cannot attend the session, if you register, you will receive the slides (a recording may not be possible).
 

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Zoom Break: Among Us
Thursday, April 29, 2021
1:00 - 2:00 PM EDT
Join to play an hour of Among Us with us!

The game can be found here for Android and here for iOS.

A quick introduction video to how the game works is here!

 

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Language Conversation Exchange "Conversation Cafes"
Next Event on Friday, 7 May, 2021
12:00 - 1:00 PM EDT

Co-sponsored by LCE & ISO

NOTE: We'll be using a new video-calling platform called Ohyay. You can find our LCE cafe space here: https://ohyay.co/s/lce-cafe

After a short opening culture or language presentation, language learners will be sorted into breakout rooms by language where you can practice with native speakers.

Participants, please start arriving at 11:50 AM so that presentation can start promptly at 12noon.

 
To join our cafe, follow these steps:
  1. Create an Ohyay account (should only take a minute). Please use the email address you used to register for our Conversation Cafes—most likely your MIT email.
  2. Enter our Ohyay cafe at this link: https://ohyay.co/s/lce-cafe
  3. If you have previously attended an LCE Virtual Conversation Cafe, you should be able to enter automatically! If not, please fill out this Google form so we can add you to the space.
  4. If you have any questions about getting started with Ohyay, check out this guide.
Subscribe to the LCE email list
LCE Ohyay Cafe
MIT EVENTS & PROGRAMS
SaveTFP Fridays
Next Event: Bob Ross + Crafts
Today, Friday April 16, 9:00-11:00PM EST

Link: https://gather.town/i/7cx6u5yl

Backup Zoom room: https://mit.zoom.us/j/95242872059
 
What? Crafts, painting, music, Kahoot!
Why? Chill vibes, fun and prizes (squishables? crafting/watercolor kits?)
 
Open to everyone

Various events happening each Friday during the spring semester

Add our Google Calendar and/or fill out this form to be added to our mailing list!
Undergraduate Students - Cross University Mixer
Saturday, April 17, 2021
9:00 AM and 6:00 PM EST
 
This Saturday we are having our first cross-university event!

This is a joint social event among international societies from Harvard, UPenn, Columbia, MIT, Northwestern, Yale and Tufts! (And potentially more schools!)

There’ll be two rounds of the same event. Preregister below using your college email address!

ROUND 1: 9AM EST -> Zoom Link

ROUND 2: 6PM EST -> Zoom Link

Duration for each round: 1 hr
 
As always, please email isa-execcom@mit.edu or isa-president@mit.edu if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions.
 
See you all on Saturday!
 
"MITaly Talks To…” series
Monday, April 19, 2021
3
:00 PM EST

"MITaly Talks To..." is a new series of events organized by MITaly. Every month, we interview a prominent Italian figure from the fields of science, industry, arts and politics.

Our next guest is Anna Grassellino, Deputy Chief Technology Officer at Fermilab, awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers by Barack Obama in 2017.
The event is going to be livestreamed on April, 19th at 3PM (EST). We will share the zoom link on our Facebook pages:  
Please, fill out the following Google Docs (even if you do not plan to attend) to let us know who would you like to hear from in our next interviews: GoogleDocs Form
Graduate Student Experiences with Research during COVID-19
What has it been like doing research during the COVID-19 pandemic? No matter what your experience has been, the GSC and MIT COVID Relief want to know so they can represent grad student researchers from an informed perspective.
 
You can help in this effort by taking this <5-minute, completely anonymous survey. It was designed by the GSC and MIT COVID Relief with input from MIT IR to make the design rigorous. It’s short because we know everyone’s got survey fatigue, but this is the first survey to address grad students in our role as researchers. Thank you in advance for sharing your experiences and time.
 
From the first slew of responses, though grad students have had a variety of experiences with research in the pandemic, you should know that if you are one of those who are struggling to make progress, you are not alone. Getting a better understanding of what difficulties people are facing will help us to problem-solve in collaboration with administration.
 
How the information will be used:
  • A report of the aggregate results, and as many School/department/work-situation breakdowns as possible without breaking confidentiality, will be made publicly-available on the GSC website
  • This information will be used to inform the GSC’s policy recommendations, initiative proposals, and suggested solutions to problems presented in our meetings with administrative offices
The results may also be presented to the Lightning Committee if they are interested/find it constructive
Survey
The Personal Empowerment Series
Visit ENGAGE.MIT.EDU to RSVP for each workshop

Next event on April 22, 2021 at 3:00 PM EST:
Cooking Through Cambridge: Clover
 
Sponsored by Student Organizations Leadership Engagement (SOLE), in partnership with MCR, DUSP, Political Science, ISO, MITAA, VPR, PKG, CAPD, LGBTQ@MIT, and OMP
Graduate Housing Informational Opportunities
April 21-23, 2021
 
As we approach the 2021-2022 housing application deadline (April 25), there are several upcoming opportunities for prospective on-campus residents to engage with the team at Housing & Residential Services (HRS)!
 
Below, please find the dates and times for three upcoming live “Q&A” sessions via Slack which will provide students the opportunity to ask housing-related questions and receive live responses from HRS staff.
 
  • Slack Live Q&A (Link)
    • Wednesday, April 21, 2021 11:00 AM-12:00 PM ET
  • Slack Live Q&A (Link)
    • Thursday, April 22, 2021 1:00 PM-2:00 PM ET
  • Slack Live Q&A (Link)
    • Friday, April 23, 2021 11:00 AM-12:00 PM ET
 
HRS will also host an off-campus housing webinar to provide members of the MIT community with helpful information about the Boston/Cambridge housing market and tips to help with navigating the off-campus housing search process.
 
  • Off-Campus Housing Webinar (Link)
    • Tuesday, Apr 20, 2021 01:00 PM-2:00 PM
 
For more information about housing during MIT, please visit the Housing Toolkit 
MIT's Own Astronaut: A Virtual Conversation with AeroAstro Alumnus Michael Fincke 
Tuesday, April 20
5:00pm to 6:00pm
Event Link

Please join the MISTI MIT Russia Program and the AeroAstro Department for a virtual conversation with NASA astronaut and MIT graduate Col. Michael Fincke in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the first human flight in space.  Moderator Piper Sigrest (AeroAstro ’18) will ask him about his experiences in training and in space, his use of the Russian language, the training he thinks is important to get while at MIT, and ways that MIT students might be able to invest their time in order to increase their chances of flying to space one day. Join us to hear answers to these questions and get a chance to ask your own. 

REGISTER
Wellness Events & Resources
Daily Table Grocery Store
Now in Central Square
No one should have to choose between their health and their budget when it comes to food. That's why Daily Table sources nutritious, delicious food at prices that every budget can afford --an average of 30% less than other local supermarkets.
READ MORE
Workshop: It's OK not to be OK
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
12:30 - 1:00 PM EST

Join Zan Barry from Community Wellness at MIT Medical and Sherri Crowley from Student Mental Health & Counseling Services for a workshop on coping with the lost opportunities and routines in the pandemic year. The workshop takes place on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 from 12:30-1pm. There is an optional wrap-up and mini-calming practice from 1-1:15pm.
 
During this workshop, we’ll talk about the difficulties of coping with lost opportunities and changed routines during the pandemic year. We’ll identify self-care skills and MIT resources that can help you manage stress.
   
Join the Community Wellness mailing list, and we will notify you about upcoming classes, programs and events.
MIT International Students Office
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Office Hours:
9:00-16:00 (M-F)
Closed (W) 10:00-11:30
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