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Scam Warmings for International Students

Recently we have been receiving reports of scam that are targeting international students. We are sharing various commonly reported scams targeting our Asian international students, hoping to get your attention and prevent you from being scammed. 

Scam #1: Phone Calls to Inform Illegal Activities under Your Name

The caller pretends to be from the police station/Border & Customs/post office from the student’s home country, especially China, claiming that they received illegal documents or items under the student’s name, therefore, proving the student had committed illegal acts. The caller then transfers the calls from one pretended authority to another, not allowing the student time to think or verify. These calls always involve demanding the student to pay a bail, to provide ID or bank account information, or to install Skype for further control of students’ daily life. The caller(s) also demands the student to keep everything confidential, meaning not to share anything with their friends, school, or parents; Otherwise, they threaten to deport the student from the U.S. 

In these situations, hang up the phone and call UWPD at 206-685-8973. Do not share any personal information with the caller. Based on our knowledge, the callers or scammers are most likely not in the U.S., so they won’t be able to harm your safety as they claimed to. 

Scam #2: Text Messages asking for payment or clicking a link

Fake text messages from delivery companies, post office, bank, etc., asking you to click on a link, so you can provide your credit information to pay for unpaid delivery fees, bank fees, etc. 

In these cases, do NOT click any links to avoid malwares being installed on your phone. You can simply block the sender. 

Scam #3: Emails or calls from official government agency demanding payment 

Students also often receive official-looking emails (e.g. from or phone calls that display as an official government agency, such as the IRS or China Consulate at San Francisco. These emails or phone calls typically lead to pressuring the student to pay money or threatening to deport the student if they don’t pay. 

In this case, don’t answer the call and block the sender. Keep in mind, any official agencies, like universities, the police, embassies/consulates, the IRS, or Immigration agencies, will NOT call you directly to discuss official business or require payments. In the U.S., emails and postal mails are the most common forms of official communication.

Scam #4: Emails offering remote jobs with a nice salary

Students receive job offers via email that allow them to work remotely and earn a very nice salary. Here is a unique case: On UW Handshake, the scammer created a fake profile for a department dean and offered the student a job to work at the Dean’s office. Then the student was asked to purchase some office supplies or gift cards, being promised to get reimbursed later. 

New case: (added on 11/27/2023)

Recently, there have been frequent calls to students’ mobile phones with the caller number showing as 8696110, pretending to be China’s National Anti-Scam Center. The caller informs the student that they have been involved in major criminal cases such as money laundering due to theft of identity information and using forged official documents, seals, etc. Once gained victim’s trust, the scammer then tricks the victim into transferring money in the name of ensuring the safety of funds. Please be vigilant.  Such calls should not be answered and you should block the sender right away. A helpful tip: All hotline numbers are for the public to call in. Officials will never use the hotline number to make calls.

In these situations, report the scam to UWPD at 206-685-8973 or UWIT at

If you got scammed, you can always call UWPD. If you are unsure about a scam, you can always ask CIRCLE in RCG group chats, email us at or call UWPD. One simple action can help you avoid a lot of unnecessary trouble. 

CIRCLE Student Advisory Board (SAB) Applications Now Open!

Dear Husky,

Hello everyone, this is the application for the 2022-23 SAB Board. Thank you for applying for CIRCLE’s International Student Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB aims to provide a space where international students can:
-Share their international student experience and concerns
-Advocate for international student needs to inspire new programs and resources
-Gain leadership experience and a close community

Time commitment: We will have in-person/virtual meetings every week. The time for that will be decided based on the convenience of the selected board members.

Application closes on Monday, August 30th at 11:59 pm (PDT). Applications will then be reviewed and you will be further contacted with a time to interview. If you have any questions, please email

Apply Here

Applications open – May 4
Info session 1 – May 12 at 5-6 pm (
Info session 2 – May 16 at 4-5 pm (In person at 250 Schmitz Hall 1410 NE Campus Pkwy, Seattle, WA 98195)
Application Close – May 18
Interviews – May 23-27
Final Decisions – June 1

Important message regarding UW’s vaccination requirement

The below message was sent as an email from CIRCLE to international students at the University of Washington’s Seattle campus.

Dear Huskies,

Today is the deadline by which all University of Washington students are required to upload proof of vaccination to avoid a registration hold on their Winter 2022 registration. Some students have been confused on whether or not they have completed this requirement. We are sending this message to encourage you to check your MyUW to ensure you do not have a registration hold.

When you check the notices section in MyUW, if you see something like the notice below (Critical: UW Student COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement), that means you have a registration block. It is VERY important that you take the necessary steps to have the hold removed. If you do not act right away, you will not be able to register for classes. If you don’t see the notice below, thank you for completing the vaccination requirement.

To have the hold removed if you’re already vaccinated, please complete the verification requirement by uploading a picture of your vaccination card. It is ok if the vaccination card is in a language other than English.

If you are not vaccinated and wish to submit a request for a medical or religious exemption, you must download the appropriate exemption form. Once you complete the form, you can upload the request using the secure portal listed on the page where you downloaded the form.

Once you upload your proof of vaccination or request for a medical or religious exemption, the hold will come off shortly after. All documentation will be reviewed by Hall Health staff and you will be contacted via email if there are issues or questions about your documentation.

Please remember that students who submit false or inaccurate information as part of the vaccine verification process are subject to disciplinary procedures that can include dismissal from the University.

Please let us know if you have any questions regarding this process.

Thank you,
The UW CIRCLE Office

A portal to the world: How I had a global Husky Experience without leaving Seattle

by Joseph Yang

I entered the University of Washington, like most, as an in-state student. I hadn’t traveled much, all of my close friends were from my hometown, and the prospect of going to school 25 minutes away from my parents’ house was, to be honest, a little bit underwhelming. I was envious of my friends who got to spend their next four years on the East coast, the same ones who studied abroad and posted pictures of the intangible “cultural experience” that always seemed just out of my reach. I figured that my desire to experience the world: trying new foods, learning about different traditions and geopolitical issues, participating in cultural festivities, would have to wait. Maybe after graduation I could land a job that allowed me to travel.

Three years later, I can’t help but scoff at the pessimism I carried with me during that first year. Having recently graduated, the vast majority of my friends are international students. They hail from places as distant as China, India, Brazil, Korea, and Japan, to name a few. Through my time with them, I’ve had home-cooked meals I’d never thought I’d try, learned about their native political and cultural issues, picked up bits and pieces of new languages, and recognized the unique challenges international students face on a day-to-day basis. And get this, I never traveled abroad!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that study abroad isn’t an eye-opening, transformative experience worth doing. What I’m trying to communicate, especially to in-state students like myself, is that attending the UW offers a wonderful opportunity to participate in cultural exchange even while being close to home; you just need to know how to get involved.

My cultural exchange journey started about two quarters into my first year at the UW. I hadn’t really made any friends. I tried joining a few clubs, but none of them really stuck. I was sad, lonely, and wanting more out of my college experience. So one day, when I saw a flyer for a program called Unite UW, advertising “life-long friendships” through a seven-week cultural exchange program, I took a leap of faith and signed up. The following quarter I arrived at my first Unite UW meeting. I was assigned to a small group with two students from India, one from Mongolia, one from Vietnam, and one from Washington.

Unite UW’s mission aimed to foster an atmosphere where international and domestic students could bond and exchange cultures. There would be weekly field trips and fun activities designed to bring us all closer together; emblematic of this was the “Once United, Never Divided” motto all the program facilitators seemed to incessantly repeat.

I’ll admit that I was skeptical of the program at first; the icebreakers were uncomfortable and I didn’t believe that I’d get close to these strangers over the course of a measly seven weeks. Nonetheless, all the facilitators who had done the program in the past seemed happy enough, attesting that I would have a great time if I went into the program with an open mind.

And that was the key: going into the program with an open mind. Throughout those seven weeks, I got to go on a camping retreat, explore downtown Seattle, see a tulip festival, have a bonfire at the beach, and eat delicious food from all over the world. But, more importantly, I learned about my groupmates’ upbringings, the similarities and differences between our cultures, what international students liked and disliked about the living in the US, and the shared experiences we had as students attending the UW. I left the program with deep friendships that suddenly expanded my worldview, and I craved more.

Following the program, I got as involved as I could in international student advocacy, support, and engagement. I became a Unite UW facilitator the following quarter, joined the International Student Mentorship Program, and applied for a job at UW CIRCLE, a department focused on supporting international student needs on campus.

For me, all these experiences have reinforced how special the University of Washington is. Students from all around the world travel to Seattle to study. There may be no better chance in life to interact with such a diverse crowd and to learn about the world through conversation and friendship. Yet, sometimes when I walk around campus, I can’t help but feel that students take this opportunity for granted.

International students and domestic students too often stick to their own groups. When I see this, I’m saddened by the missed opportunities to learn from one another and to connect with the larger world. Cultural exchange can be difficult; it’s hard to put yourself out there. It can be hard to interact with someone with an upbringing completely different than your own. But if you go in with an open mind, if you are willing to be vulnerable, if you truly want to better understand your place within this vast world, then cultural exchange is an invaluable experience, one that all students at the UW should strive for during their time here.

Joseph Yang is a UW alum (2021) who studied political science at the UW and served as the Communications Coordinator for UW CIRCLE. Joseph integrates his love for learning with his passion for advocacy through effective writing and communication.

International Student Stories: Bryce Wagner—Ubiquitous Identity

“I have the body, accent, and the face of Caucasian American, but I very much feel like an immigrant.”

Bryce is a Swiss-American born, where he grew up in Geneva, Switzerland. He grew up with American parents in a British Schooling systems in the Suisse-Romande (french-speaking region) of Switzerland. His  identity has been ubiquitous over the past 3 years, especially in the face of some of the challenges at UW, but he firmly identifies himself  as an Anglophone global Citizen!

Listen to Bryce’s journey in this episode!

International Student Stories: Naisha Sachdev “How I overcame the pandemic as an international student”

Imagine taking classes at 3 am? Imagine being not able to sleep for 3 days straight during the finals week because of the time differences. International students already face challenges of culture shock, joining communities, and adapting to new environments when they are on campus. But what struggles our international students  face during pandemic?

Naisha is international student from India and she tells us her story.  She was able to experience the difficulties of connecting with people, taking classes at night, and coping with feelings of isolation. Her courage to change the status quo of her life allowed her to join new clubs and represent her culture proudly though dance. She was able to overcome the challenges that many international students face today during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International Student Stories: Vikram Guhan Subbiah from India

“Am I Indian or am I American?”

Vikram was born in America, but grew up in India. He grew up speaking Hindi, watching Bollywood movies, and listening to Indian songs. By the time he came to the U.S to attend UW, he knew he was not American as his passport said, at least not culturally. However, this did not stop him. He decided to embrace both of his identities and went to play cards with his Saudi Arabian buddies, learn pick up lines from his Brazilian friends, and learn about different ethnic groups in East Africa from his Eritrean friend. He chose to grow and broaden his perspective by simple saying “hi” to a friend eating at Local Point food court.

Listen to his story to hear about his experience as a American citizen, spending most of his time in India and coming back to UW.

International Student Stories: Luiz Fernando Saade Porto from Brazil

“I don’t want to go back to Seattle. Should I just stay in Rio? ”
That is what freshmen Luiz said, but not anymore. Though he struggled in the beginning  of his time at UW to find friends and a community, today Luiz has successfully has made UW his home. In this episode, Luiz takes us to his experience of being an international student at UW. We will hear his willingness to step out of his comfort zone to find friends, community, and a support system at UW.

Luiz Fernando Saade Porto spent his first 19 years of life in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the last three and a half years in Seattle studying at UW.  Luiz is a senior studying Economics with a minor in Informatics and a passion for data science. At the university, he spent more than two years as part of Unite UW, a program that connects domestic and international students and that helped him find his community and home at UW. Some of his hobbies include hanging out with his housemates and friends, playing the bass guitar, hiking, traveling, and truly learning about different cultures by experiencing them.

International Student Stories: Pum and Aries from Thailand

Pum and Aries came to the U.S. in their freshman year for the first time and they were able to bond over their shared problems of finding a dorm to stay in. Both of them decided to join the Thai Student Association and were able to find a shared connection through their Thai culture. Thus, they both were able to expand their social circle through this shared experience, not just by joining the Thai Student Association, but also by exploring their interests and joining different clubs later on with local students. Their discomfort of going out of their comfort zone and trying new things was their currency for their growth.