World flags globe on a computer keyboard

Accepted International Students

Bulldog Nation Spans the Globe

Runnin’ Bulldogs start in lots of places!

Gardner-Webb University’s backyard is the world. With 1,650 undergraduate students representing 45 U.S. states and 29 countries worldwide, we believe the horizons for Bulldog Nation have never been wider than today.

We know it’s not easy to learn English, experience American culture, and advance your academic studies all at the same time. But, we welcome you to our campus with open arms and are committed to the best academic and cultural experience possible for each of our students, no matter where you  call home beyond our campus. Below, you will find helpful  resources and tools for your transition.

International Student Handbook

The International Student Handbook has been prepared to assist international students at Gardner Webb University with their initial adjustment to the United States and to the University. In this handbook, you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions from international students. We hope it makes your transition to the United States and Gardner-Webb University as easy as possible and acts as your first guide to studying in the United States.

International Student Services

To assist international students with their transition to student-life at Gardner-Webb, our International Student Services connects students to cross-cultural experiences with faculty, staff, and local culture, while providing a support system that celebrates our Global Community. 

The International Club

The student-led International Club accomplishes much through their promotion of campus activities. By participating in key educational and cultural opportunities, international students can gain much during their studies at GWU.

Maintaining F-1 Status

  • Maintain a valid passport (at least 6 months into the future).
  • Currently attend the school whose Form I-20 you last used to enter the U.S., or complete required transfer procedures.
  • Be enrolled in a full-course of study during the academic year (12 credits or more per semester for Undergraduate students), unless an exception is made in advance by the ISS.
  • Comply with extension of program procedures BEFORE your current Form I-20 expires.
  • Comply with procedures for changing from one degree level to another.
  • Engage only in authorized employment.
  • Inform the ISS of any address change within 10 days of moving.

Travel Outside Of The United States After Initial Enrollment

In order to re-enter the United States as a valid F-1 student, you will need:

  • A valid Form I-20 signed by a DSO no more than 12 months prior to re-entry.
  • A valid passport (at least 6 months into the future).
  • A valid F-1 visa (except for citizens of Canada or Bermuda).
  • Evidence of financial support.

Obtaining A Social Security Number

A SSN is available and required only for those who will work in the U.S. and get paid. F-1 students may apply for a (SSN) if they are authorized for employment or have an on-campus job offer. You will need an on-campus employment letter to verify your eligibility. Bring your employment letter to the Office of International Student Services, so that you can obtain a letter of verification necessary to the application process. You must apply in person at the Social Security Office, and it takes approximately two weeks for the number to be issued and mailed to you. F-2 dependents may not obtain a Social Security number because they are not eligible for employment.

Documents to take with you to the Social Security Office:

  • Passport
  • Form I-20
  • Letter of verification from the DSO

Obtaining A North Carolina Driver’s License

If you desire to obtain your North Carolina Driver’s License while attending GWU, there are very clear steps to follow, including studying the Driver’s Handbook, gathering the required identification paperwork, and successfully completing the exam. 

Curricular Practicum Training

For international students who have been enrolled full-time at GWU for one full academic year, or graduate students whose program requires immediate CT for all students, Curricular Practicum Training (CPT) may be a valuable opportunity to gain work experience while in the United States. Specifically, the  regulation states that F-1 students studying at an SEVP-approved “college, university, conservatory, or seminary” may be eligible to seek authorization for practical training to engage in temporary employment to gain practical experience directly related to their field of study.

It is important to understand the requirements that govern this valuable program for F-1 students. The regulations state that a student may participate in a “curricular practical training program” that is “an integral part of an established curriculum” and “directly related to the student’s major area of study.” They define curricular practical training as “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.”

A good general principle is to approach CPT primarily from the curricular perspective, and only secondarily from the employment perspective. That is to say, the school’s curriculum, not the student’s desire for employment, should drive CPT policy development. CPT policies and procedures should be clearly established and then followed consistently.