Information for Families
Are you the parent of a future NWTC international student? Or a student planning to travel with your family to the U.S.? You may have questions we can help answer.
Resources for Parents
Get details about your student's NWTC experience and plan for their stay in the United States.
International Student Orientation
International students are required to attend International Student Orientation, and parents of international students are welcome to attend. The International Student Orientation will occur in tandem with Welcome Week orientation activities for all new students. Your student will receive information that he or she needs to know about how to stay in legal immigration status, adjusting to NWTC and Green Bay, and much more.
They will also have the opportunity to meet fellow international students and take part in some social activities. Academic support services and student advisors will also be on hand to introduce important services available to students as they are adjusting to their new environment.
If you are planning to join your child at orientation, please let us know so we can be sure to provide extra support for visiting family members. Email us your itinerary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is located in a very safe region of the United States and campus crime statistics are very, very low. In cases of emergencies, including school closings for severe weather, students are alerted directed to their cell phones and student emails through our NWTC Alert systems.
NWTC also has an active, Campus security department which monitors and maintains the safe environment that students and faculty expect. Safety programs are also in place, for example, a campus walk program which allows students the option of having a safety officer or employee walk them through the parking lots outside at night. Learn more at our Campus Safety web page..
Medical Care & Insurance
The United States health care system is very well-equipped to take care of your student, but it is also very expensive and complicated. It is important that every student have a comprehensive health insurance plan that will help pay the expenses of any needed medical care. All international students on F-1 and J-1 visas at NWTC are required to have health insurance.
You can arrange to purchase health insurance for your student in your home country or through private international student health insurance providers available through online search. Otherwise, additional information will be provided to students during orientation.
NWTC does have a campus health clinic available to all students for free. This clinic will be able to assist students with minor illnesses or injury. This facility is not equipped to address major medical conditions. In the case of major illness or injury, students will need to use medical insurance at a general hospital. For this reason students must show proof of insurance coverage at the time of enrollment because we must be sure their insurance adequately covers students.
If you have questions about finding health insurance for the United States, please contact your international student advisor.
The Orchards is the apartment complex located directly on-campus, and we encourage international students to apply to live there. Off-campus housing is also available in apartment complexes nearby and immediately adjacent to the NWTC campus. The Orchards offer students a safe and reasonably priced housing option with numerous cultural outings and activities to help them connect to classmates and new friends.
Students may also seek their own housing off-campus. However, they may have to pass additional background checks, arrange utility payments, and figure out transportation. They may also have difficulty gaining approval to rent at some off-campus apartment complexes.
Students interested in host families should discuss this with an international student advisor. The cost of staying with a host family is comparable to living on-campus. NWTC also cannot guarantee that all host-family requests can be fulfilled, but International Program staff will work diligently to fulfill that request. Students will be given notice prior to arrival on campus if a host-family option will be available.
The United States benefits from immigrant communities originating from around the world. Because of this, many styles of food and cooking are available in local communities. However, don't be surprised if your student complains about the food, especially in the first few months in the U.S. Food is often one of the more significant adjustments that your student will experience, as it may be quite different from what he or she eats at home. Many U.S. students are also adjusting to eating different food, cooking on their own, or not having parents around to cook for them. It is quite common for students to deal with weight-loss or weight-gain during their first semesters at college.
As with many other issues, we urge you to remind your student that an adjustment period can be expected when moving away from home and especially to another country, and we hope that you will encourage them to be patient and open-minded while they are adjusting.
NWTC has a cafeteria and a coffee shop on campus. The cafeteria serves both hot foods and cold dishes during its regular service hours. There are also snacks, sodas, and juices available through vending machines around campus.
NWTC is located near supermarkets where students can obtain fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and other necessary staples for cooking in their apartment. Green Bay has several specialty food stores for students seeking various Asian cuisine or halal Middle Eastern cuisine. That being said, not all foods familiar to students can be found, so while some foods may be available, students should not expect that all of their regular dietary practices will be the same as at home. However, many students come to enjoy the many new foods they experience while living in the U.S. The most important thing is to encourage students to try new things and be open-minded.
Budget and Expenses
As part of the visa application process, NWTC provided your student with an estimate of costs of attendance. Your student already has or will need to show to the financial documentation at the visa interview verifying that he or she has at least that amount of money available.
You should be very honest and realistic about your ability to financially support your student for his or her studies. It is extremely difficult for an international student to find funding to continue studies after entering the U.S. If you aren't confident that you can fund the necessary costs for the entire length of study, it may be better to delay starting your student's study until you are more confident of your ability to cover the full costs. NOTE: U.S. immigration law does not permit international students to work off campus without authorization. Doing so could cause them to fall out of status and have to leave the U.S.
Beyond tuition and fees, supplies and basic living needs, students also have other expenses. Some examples of other expenses:
- Books – The expense of buying textbooks surprises many university students.
- Extra Living Expenses – Your student will need money for basic personal needs such as bathing supplies, materials for washing clothes, and other necessities. Also, for their first few weeks in the United States, they will probably need to buy basics such as bedding, computer supplies, a cell phone, etc.
- Travel – The cost of trips back and forth to your home during breaks. If your student will stay in the U.S. during long school breaks and over the summer, be sure to allow extra funding to cover those time periods.
- Extra Educational Opportunities – This can include extra coursework on campus that may be available such as courses offered during summer sessions. In addition, academic and student leadership conferences and events may also prove very important for a student’s resume.
- Entertainment – These expenses can vary a great deal, but it is important to remember that everyone needs to periodically release stress through relaxing activities.
In general, your student should arrive on campus with access to U.S. currency, for the first week or two. Travelers will need cash to pay for meals or drinks when traveling, to handle emergencies or delays in travel, and perhaps to pay for transportation from the airport to campus. They may also need extra money in their first few days to purchase personal items or extra items for their living space. It may take a few days or even weeks for students to complete setting up personal banking accounts and to transfer money from home prior to the student being able to access those funds. Having cash available upon arrival will ensure students do not arrive to campus without money nor access to funds during the first days of class.
Your student should open a bank account. Students often find that opening a checking account and learning how to use and write checks, in addition to getting an ATM (debit) card, is the most suitable method of handling money and paying tuition or for goods when shopping.
Few Opportunities for Employment
When international students arrive in the U.S. they may work only on campus and no more than 20 hours per week. The pay is usually low and helps a student pay for some personal costs or books, but little else. After completing a full academic year of study, only then will an F-1 student have additional employment options available.
Visa Information for Dependents of F-1 Students
Spouse/children of F-1 students can stay in the U.S. as F-2 dependents. The F-1 student will need to request F-2 I-20's for each of their dependents that plan on coming to the U.S. from NWTC's International Programs Department in order to make a visa appointment for them.
Basic F-2 rules are as follows:
- F-2 dependents remain in status only as long as the F-1 from whom status is derived remains in valid F-1 status and only until attaining age 21 if a dependent child
- Duration of stay is not date specific and is conditional as noted above
- Study beyond secondary level is permitted on a full-time basis, as long as it is avocational or recreational in nature (such as English classes), but only on a part-time basis for degree or non-degree courses
- If full-time study is desired, must change to F-1 status prior to beginning coursework
- Employment is not allowed
- Other members of your family (father, mother, brothers, sisters, etc.) may be able to visit you (usually on B-2 visitor status).
Travel Outside the United States:
- Documents: Have the following valid documents in your possession in order to travel outside the U.S. and successfully return in F-2 status:
- Passport with F-2 visa
- Most recent I-94
- Form I-20 with travel signature from NWTC DSO (obtain in International Programs Office, SC118)
- Returning to United States But to a Different School: Obtain an initial Form I-20 from the new school before departing, or be able to receive I-20 to your address overseas before returning to U.S.
Further Information: Keep all copies of Form I-20s issued. You will need them when you apply for a USCIS benefit.
Child Care Options
There are many options for child care and schooling in the United States. There are daycare centers, nursery schools, pre-schools, family/home daycares, nannies/au pairs, babysitters, and/or summer camps. If you are unfamiliar with these, we suggest that you investigate a variety of options so that you can find the one with which you and your family are most comfortable.
NWTC does not offer on-campus child care.
Schools for Children
The city of Green Bay and surrounding Northeast Wisconsin communities offer many options for elementary, middle and high school education, both public and private.
Generally speaking, public schools are free to all children between the ages of 5 and 18, though parents may be required to pay a modest book and activity fee. Breakfast and lunch are served at school for an additional cost or you may qualify for financial assistance. Depending on where you live, your child may also take advantage of transportation provided by the school district to and from school and school-related activities. English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction is usually available, although your children may be assigned to a particular school in order to participate.
For more Information about the public schools in the area, please see the Green Bay Area Public School District website.
Programs for Spouses/Partners
If your partner accompanies you to NWTC, he or she may find that getting involved in community events and activities makes the transition to life in Green Bay more enjoyable. Here are some suggested activities:
- Sign up for ESL classes, or enroll in a course through the NWTC Artisan Center.
- Check out the activities happening at local community centers or with service and volunteer groups. F-2 spouses and partners are strongly encouraged to volunteer on or off-campus. Learn more at the Volunteer Center of Brown County.
- Participate in NWTC events.
Local Activities for Children & Families
Green Bay and Northeast Wisconsin offer a variety of locations and programs for children and families. Some of these locations include:
- Brown County Library
- Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary
- Northeast Wisconsin (NEW) Zoo and Adventure Park
- The Fox River Trail and other walking/biking trails throughout the region
- Green Bay Farmers Market
- Green Bay Children’s Museum
- Green Bay Neville Museum
- The Resch Center, Weidner Center for Performing Arts, and Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
- The Green Bay Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry, including Green Bay's Bay Beach Amusement Park
* The warm weather months also bring in a variety of fairs, festivals, and other public events that offer entertainment for children, youth, families, or even adults on their own.
The City of Green Bay maintains a "Family Fun" webpage highlighting these and other activities available to children and families throughout the region.
The Greater Green Bay YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay, and the Salvation Army of Green Bay are all organizations which provide programming and space for children and youth to experience fun and safe activities after school and during summer vacations. Parents are encouraged to check out these organizations and their services should they want to involve their children in after school and recreational activities.