GSEHD International Student Guide and Resources

Before Arrival: Set up Accounts & Register for Class

Account Set-Up

After you accept your admission, your next step is to establish your accounts. You will need your account to register for classes, update your address, pay your bills, access your GW email account, and communicate with instructors.

Instructions on how to set up your accounts, along with frequently asked questions are available in the GSEHD New Student Guide linked in your welcome email.

Registering for Your First Semester

Before you register for classes, it is very important to discuss your course selection with your faculty advisor or student services representative.  You should have received a “Welcome” email from your student services representative.  You can reach out to them if you’re unsure of who your advisor is.  Generally your advisor or student services representative will also be able to speak with you over the phone, through Zoom, or through Webex.

Instructions on how to register are available online here.

After Arrival: Check In & Update Your Address

Check In

As soon as possible upon arriving in Washington, DC, you need to go online to the Mandatory Check-in page. This will provide you with the first steps you'll need to complete your e-check which will be through ISOGateway. This will include the F-1 In-Person Check-In Agreement e-form if you are an F-1 student or the J-1 In-Person Check-In Agreement e-form if you are a J-1 student.

Update Your Address

Updating your address in the GWeb Information System is extremely important to maintain your legal status in the United States. The International Services Office sends your address to the U.S immigration office through this system.

Each time you move, please make sure you always update your address in the system! This is very important! Wrong addresses can cause ISO to inform the U.S Immigration which may affect your ability to travel your visa or even risk deportation.

Instructions on how to update your address are available online here.

Frequently asked questions

Q. I’m temporarily staying at my friend’s place. Can I update my address when I find an apartment?

A. Please put your friends’ address. Even though you know that you are moving to a new place, you must put the temporary address. (Hotel address is also fine).  Please update your address again when you move to a new place.

Q. I know when I’m moving out. Should I put the date on “Until this date”?

A.  No, you should not to put anything in “Until this date”.  Wait until you move into the new place to update your address. At that time you can put the move out date in the old address and click submit. The system automatically deletes your previous address and you can insert the new current address.

Q.  I’m not in the U.S yet. Should I update my address after my arrival to the U.S?

A.   Please make sure your permanent address is correct. You can put the foreign address under “Current, Current” if you are not physically in the U.S yet.  Upon arriving in the U.S, you must change it to your new address as soon as possible.

Travel & Re-Entry

After you arrive, if you need to travel outside of the U.S, you must receive a travel signature from your ISO advisor. Please check the academic calendar and plan ahead. It takes to up to 10 days to get a travel signature.  More info is available online here.

GW University Services:

Academic Support Services & Tools

GW offers various academic support services for international students to succeed in your academic life! Services include:

  • GW University Writing Center

  • English for Academic Purposes

  • EAP Writing Support Program

  • GW Tutoring Initiative

  • Global Resources Center

Information on these services (and many more!) is available online here.

Please note that plagiarism policies at U.S. institutions are taken very seriously and that plagiarism in any form is not acceptable and can result in severe academic sanctions, up to and including failing grades and expulsion.  A useful summary of plagiarism in American Academia can be found here.

Blackboard Learning Center

One critical academic tool is the Blackboard Learning Center, the system many professors use to enable to access course syllabi and reading assignments. Most professors also use this website to communicate with students regarding their coursework. Check with your professors to see if they use Blackboard.


Degree Map is an online system that allows you to monitor your academic progress. It will display your academic requirements, and includes in-progress courses to show how they apply to your degree.

Instructions on how to access Degree Map are available online here.

Gelman Library

Gelman librarians assist you in finding references through numerous databases, consortium loans, and interlibrary loans. You can also online chat with librarians.

GW also offers many services to help international students continue to improve their English language skills.  Services include:

  • Everyday English Program

  • Language Exchange

  • GW Toastmasters Club

More information on these programs is available online here.

GSEHD Career Services


GW Campus Services

There are many offices on GW’s campus dedicated to supporting student’s needs.  These offices can help you find housing, receive medical care, fix your computer, pay your bill, search for internships, and even do your taxes!  They include:

  • GW Housing/Office of Off-Campus Student Affairs

  • GW Center for Career Services – International Student Workshops & Resources

  • GW Community- Multicultural Student Services Center

  • GW Finances- Colonial Central/Tax Department

  • GW IT Support

  • GW Disability Support Services

More information on these offices is available online here.

GW Colonial Health Center

The Colonial Health Center provides various services to GW students. When you feel sick, you can make an appointment by calling 202-994-5300. You can explore more health services at GW online here.

Please note: The GW Colonial Health Center is closed when the University is closed.


Health Insurance

GW offers a comprehensive health insurance plan through Aetna Student Health.

IMPORTANT: ALL International Students holding a J1 or F1 visa are required to carry insurance. These students will be automatically enrolled in the GW SHIP and must submit an opt-out waiver if they have another insurance plan that meets the required criteria listed below. For more information, please review the Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) Resources.

Overview of the US Healthcare System for International Students

The US healthcare system is complex and might be very different from the system in your country. To help you prepare and learn more about healthcare in the US please see the link below for a video that is an important guide for international students. With tips before you travel, to a complete overview of how the healthcare system works - you can be prepared!


All incoming students under the age of 26, are required provide proof of certain immunizations prior to registration.  Failure to provide proof of immunization will result in a registration hold being placed on the student’s account. Learn more about immunization requirements here.


All students must have their immunization forms submitted by:

August 1st for Fall Admits

January 1st for Spring Admits

GW Mental Health Services

The George Washington University Counseling Center provides clinical services and consultation to support students’ mental health and personal development. UCC offers individual and group consultation and more services for all GW students.

To speak to a counselor, please do not hesitate to call at (202) 994-5300.


University Counseling Center


Hours of Operation:

Monday - Friday: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

To meet with a counselor specializing in International students: Wednesdays, 11 am – 4 pm


University Student Center

Washington, DC 20052

Phone: (202) 994-5300 (24/7 Hotline)

To Make An Appointment:

Online info here:

CALL: (202) 994-5300

After Hours Emergencies:

CALL: (202) 994-5300 (Option #2 connects you with the Counselor-on-Call

24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year)

Mental Health Awareness for International Students

Many international students experience difficulties during their stay in the US.  The University Counseling Center is happy to help you with any concerns that you are facing, including stress, culture shock and homesickness.  You are not alone. This short video introduces the concepts of mental health for international students in the US. Covering mental health awareness and warning signs, dispelling myths, and showing ways to seek treatment, the video seeks to demystify a complex topic.

Getting Involved on Campus

Looking for ways to get involved at GW? You can find countless opportunities within the GW community, including:

For a complete listing of different ways to get involved on campus check here.


GSEHD PRIME (Partnerships + Relationships = International Meaningful Experiences) was launched in order to build professional connections and friendships between GSEHD's international and domestic students. The purpose of the program is to provide incoming international students with a support network to help with their transition to DC and life as a graduate student, while at the same time providing domestic students the opportunity to learn about other cultures, explore DC, and connect to the GSEHD community. 

For more info contact

GW International Alumni networks

The GW international alumni network comprises more than 8,400 graduates living in 150 countries!

You can find a GW alumni network in your home country here!

Getting Involved in the Washington, D.C. Community

Volunteer Organizations

If you are interested in developing hands-on experience to supplement your academics, volunteering is an excellent option.  Not only will you be contributing to your community, you will be learning valuable skills and expanding your community to include people with similar interests as yourself. Browse the resources below to get started!

Global Language Network

GLN offers affordable language courses to members of the DC community. You can volunteer with this non-for-profit organization in a number of different ways, such as: teaching, teacher support, program analysis, communication, fundraising, outreach, and event planning. As a volunteer you have the benefits of priority registration for classes, professional development, and meeting fellow language-learners!

One Brick

One Brick provides support to local non-profit and community organizations by creating a unique, social and flexible volunteer environment for those interested in making a concrete difference in the community. We enable people to get involved, have an impact and have fun, without the requirements of individual long-term commitments.

Serve DC

Serve DC – The Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism is the District of Columbia Government agency dedicated to promoting service as an innovative, sustainable solution to pressing social challenges. Serve DC engages District communities by building partnerships and organizational capacity, leading local and national volunteer and service initiatives, and providing and promoting meaningful service opportunities.

Volunteer Match

VolunteerMatch strengthens communities by making it easier for good people and good causes to connect. The organization offers a variety of online services to support a community of nonprofit, volunteer and business leaders committed to civic engagement.

Community Building & Networking Opportunities

Networking is about making connections and building lasting relationships throughout your career. Being a professional as well as a graduate student in Washington, DC opens up a wide variety of networking opportunities that you would not find elsewhere. Many of these events are informal, include professional development components and function much like social events. Taking advantage of these opportunities will give you an edge up in your career and will help you build a community in the city.

GW Toastmasters International

The George Washington University Toastmasters Club is one of many chapters in the internationally renowned network of public speaking organizations known as Toastmasters International. They were founded in 2005 and our club is open to students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members. Toastmasters helps members improve their public speaking and leadership skills to use in academic, professional, and personal settings. They meet on campus several times per month, providing members and guests with several opportunities to participate in meetings.

International Club of DC

Washington's premiere organization for internationally-minded professionals who enjoy international cultural experiences as well as social, educational, and outdoor events while helping the community. They organize a variety of private events for our members each month. Join them as they venture out to discover your city and your world.

International Embassies in DC

With more than 175 embassies, ambassadors’ residences and foreign cultural centers in the nation’s capital, you can easily explore Washington, DC’s international side. Many embassies open their doors to the public for concerts, exhibitions, dinners and other special events.


Our mission is simple: connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. When you join LinkedIn, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.


Meetup is the world's largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.

Professionals in the City

Professionals in the City is a socializing and networking organization that offers professionals in major cities an opportunity to unwind, have fun, and meet people who share their interests outside of the workplace. From happy hours and theme parties at the best clubs and restaurants, to embassy galas, sporting events, outdoor activities and tours, you can be sure there is something for everyone.

Things to Do DC

With a membership consisting of 150,000 to 200,000 local young professionals, Things To Do® (TTD) produces original events that enrich your social and cultural experiences while enabling you to meet other young professionals in a friendly environment. From black tie galas to embassy affairs, informational seminars to outdoor adventure, nightclub parties to exotic weekend getaways, TTD provides something for every young professional.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact:

GSEHD Office of Student Life

Phone: (202) 994-9283


Questions regarding Visa and Immigration:

The International Services Office (ISO)

Phone: 202-994-4477