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Welcome Reception in Korea

June 26th, 2011 by co7

Today is the Seoul reception. I prayed in the bus going to Seoul that as many students as possible could come. I was a bit concerned because typhoon season had just started a few days ago, and it was raining.
Boyeon Kim, president of Korean International Students Association (KISA), a few volunteer students, and I went ahead of time to the restaurant where the reception would be taking place to set up the projector and screen for running Rice’s historical video and the OISS staff introduction video.

Finally, set-up was done! We were all getting nervous and excited as five o’clock grew closer and one by one, students started showing up.

The Seoul reception started officially by introducing each other. Surprisingly, some of the students were from the same city. The Rice introduction video which followed further livened the atmosphere.
Finally, I had a chance to introduce the OISS staff and talk about why OISS exists and what we do for internationals. The students seemed really interested in what I had to say.

With some final comments on the importance of cross-cultural experiences, we rearranged the attendees’ seats in order to mix the incoming students and the current students so that they could get to know each other better and so that the current students could answer individual questions from the incoming students.

The students were thankful for this opportunity from OISS which enabled them to meet students coming from same region before coming to Rice in August.
I believe that the new students feel more comfortable and confident because they know there are seniors and offices to help them adjust to a new country, a new culture and an entirely new system.

I can’t wait to see them again in August!
Lastly, I was very honored to welcome them in Seoul on behalf of OISS. Thank you all at OISS for your great support.


~Written by Su Yeon Yoo, International Administrative Coordinator

International Ladies Networking Luncheon

February 28th, 2011 by co7

Last fall, we launched a program for international women. That includes international students, scholars, and spouses of Rice. This program was not absolutely new.  It originated from SIR, Spouses of Internationals at Rice (SIR), which lasted over 10 years. It was held by OISS and Rice Community volunteers.

The International Ladies Networking Luncheon (IINL) meets the first Wednesday of the month at noon. Not every month though; it is set up to meet only during the semester, so please stay tuned.  OISS will send an email for you to find out when and where we will meet, or you can contact OISS at 713-348-6095.

IINL is a wonderful way to foster a sense of community, develop friendships, and learn about each other. We have invited The Houston Greeters to hear about what’s happening around the Houston. We have also had seasonal events like making our own wreaths during the winter holiday season and card stamping around Valentine’s Day & fall, made possible by generous and dedicated Rice employees.  We have many more activities throughout the year. Don’t forget, food is always served!

Through different kinds of events, international ladies here at Rice can build friendship and experience cultural exchange. We hope those invaluable traditions are continued through IINL.

~Written by Su Yeon Yoo, International Administrative Coordinator

Graduate International Culture Night – An Evening Full of Cultural Treasures

February 22nd, 2011 by co7

Our graduate international students bring so much value to Rice University at so many levels. Clearly we know that the academic and research assets they share are a special merit to the entire Rice community.

The second annual Graduate International Culture Night (GICN) exemplified an even further level of meaningfulness that international graduate students bring to our campus. The amazing talents and diversity of cultural arts was never so vividly shown as it was at the GICN. We saw the world at our front doorstep, with the enthusiasm of our brilliant students expressing their cultures and countries around the world in amazing (and very different) ways.

Thank you, Graduate Student Association (GSA), who has made it their priority to reach out and include the international student population, so as to help them become a much more active part of our community and the GSA’ work. The GICN is a reflection of the GSA’s dedication to Rice, through embracing the valuable capital that students from all over the world bring to our campus, and expanding our school’s cultural vibrancy.

Thank you, Rice graduate international students, for a wonderful program!! Thank you, GSA, for your work in putting this together!

Thank you GSA Executive Committee, who are just amazing leaders!

For more on this event, visit:

http://www.media.rice.edu/media/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=15392

~Written by Adria Baker, Executive Director, OISS

Immigration Attorney: Judy Lee

February 10th, 2011 by co7

We’re so pleased to announce that Judy Lee from FosterQuan (the second largest immigration law firm in the US) will be coming to do a seminar on immigration on Tuesday, February 22 from 4-5:30 p.m. in Sewall 309.  This is a perfect opportunity to ask your burning questions about H-1Bs, TNs, Green Card applications, and much more!   If you have questions about your F or J status, please plan to make an appointment with an OISS advisor as she will not be discussing these topics in great detail.

Judy is a graduate of the University of Houston Law Center and has been named a Texas Super Lawyer for six years in a row.

~Written by Cory Owen, Senior International Advisor

CPT Application Process Streamlined

February 1st, 2011 by co7

A few months ago we posted about off-campus work for F-1 students. Recently, OISS made changes to streamline the application process for Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

The following two items (it used to be three) are now needed for your application:

  • A job offer letter on official company/organization letterhead indicating what work you’ll be doing, the dates of employment, hours per week, and job location;
  • A completed CPT Request Form indicating academic justification for the job and signed by a Rice faculty member

As a reminder, all off-campus work for F-1 students must be directly related and integral to your course of study at Rice. Even internships for which you receive no pay count as employment and require CPT authorization.

Please schedule an appointment with an OISS advisor if you have any questions about CPT or have a job offer and are ready to start working. We’re here to help!

~Written by Matt Stein, International and Sponsored Student Advisor

Winter Events 2010-2011

January 18th, 2011 by co7

Another fabulous season of Winter Events took place this December and January.  We were so excited to provide events throughout the break for the Rice community (international, domestic, student, scholar, and family members) that gave a look into Houston culture while providing a fun way to make new friends.

We kicked off this year’s events with a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  As always, this was a fun filled event where we learned so much about how science plays such an important part in everyday life.  We were lucky enough to go on a very quiet day so we got to enjoy the museum without the crowds and even got to participate in some of the interactive models.  Since all of the permanent exhibits are free with Rice IDs, we were lucky enough to see all of the great exhibits in paleontology with huge fossils everywhere, gems & minerals (which includes my favorite museum exhibit, the gem vault), the Energy Hall where I had our own Rice students teach me about Foucault’s Pendulum, the Americas exhibit with artwork from my home (Alaska) and all across the Americas, the African Wildlife exhibit with amazing examples of African animals, the Chemistry Hall where we got to actually participate in an interactive learning session (see the picture of a Rice international on the left learning about acids and bases!), malacology, or the study of molluscs, which showed us how diverse these shells can be.  Before we left, we took a quick look around the museum store and saw all the amazing geodes for sale and all the fun jewelery and toys available.

Our next activity was to go see a hockey game with the Houston Aeros.  Even though we lost to the Hamilton Bulldogs, we took some consolation in the fact that they are one of the best hockey teams in our league.  Nevertheless, we had a ton of fun at the game as we watch the puck go whizzing around on the ice.  There were only a few fights, but we got to see why people get so excited at these games!  We were unable to take our group photo on the ice as planned, however, we did get to go right to the rink and feel how cold it really can be on that ice!

For the second year in a row, we took a group to a Houston Rockets game!  It was a tough match against the Washington Wizards with a last minute win by our team.  Even though Yao Ming was out, the Rockets were able to win the game making the fifth one in a row!  It was such an exciting game to be at and we were lucky that we got to all sit together for such a fun match.

The last event was a trip to the Houston Zoo.  This is always one of the most popular events since admission is free with your Rice ID!  We got to see so many great exhibits and were lucky enough to make it to three of the “Meet the Keeper” talks which let us ask in depth questions from the experts that work at the zoo.  This was also our opportunity to even pet a snake!  We got some great pictures in and some of the favorite exhibits were the lions and panthers (all the big cats in general actually!) and the primates (a fan favorite was the orangutan).  Since everyday is free with your Rice ID, if you didn’t get a chance to visit with us, make sure to go on your own time.  The new African Forest exhibit is now open, so be sure to check that out!

We’ll have another set of events like this over each summer and winter vacation period, so be sure to check our email for updates.  Until then, we encourage you to explore Houston on your own. If you haven’t taken advantage of the Passport to Houston program yet, check out all the awesome deals they have just for Rice affiliates!

~Written by Cory Owen, Sr. Int’l Advisor

Texas Driver License Renewal – Plan Ahead!

December 9th, 2010 by co7

If you have gone to the effort of obtaining a Texas driver license, you are well aware of the many documents required by the Department of Public Safety. And, if you are an international visitor, you should have noticed that your driver license has a special “Temporary Visitor” status expiration date in addition to the expiration date of the license itself. Yes, it can be a bit confusing.

Pay careful attention to these dates! According to the DPS web site, “If the applicant does not provide the necessary documentation and update the Temporary Visitor status date on or before the status date expiration, the card will be canceled and the person may not operate a motor vehicle until the cancellation has been lifted.” In short, you will be driving illegally (which generally does not look good if you are stopped by a Texas law enforcement officer).

So make sure to plan ahead if your DPS Temporary Status end date is before you expect to finish at Rice – or if you plan to stay after your Rice program ends for a period of OPT employment. The issue for F and J student, scholars, and their family members is – according to the DPS Temporary Visitor Issuance Guide – that you “must have at least six months remaining on the period of lawful status from the date of issuance for a renewal Driver License or Identification Card.”

This means that if you don’t remember to renew until a couple of months before the completion date on your I-20 or DS-2019, your renewal will be denied.

According to the DPS Temporary Visitor Issuance Guide, here are the documents you will need to present in person (not online or by mail):

F-1: Social Security Card or SSN Affidavit, passport, visa, I-94, I-20, and letter of Rice enrollment from OISS (unless you are on OPT, in which case you need to present your EAD card)

F-2: Social Security Card or SSN Affidavit, passport, visa, I-94, I-20s of F-2 and F-1, and letter of Rice enrollment for F-1 from OISS (unless the F-1 is on OPT, in which case need to present F-1’s EAD card)

J-1: Social Security Card or SSN Affidavit, passport, visa, I-94, DS-2019, and letter of Rice enrollment or employment from OISS

J-2: Social Security Card or SSN Affidavit, passport, visa, I-94, DS-2019s of J-2 and J-1, and letter of Rice enrollment or employment for J-1 from OISS

As usual, please feel free to make an appointment with an OISS advisor if you would like to discuss your specific case.

~Written by Matt Stein, International and Sponsored Student Advisor

Work, part 3: Employment After Graduation (OPT)

September 29th, 2010 by co7

In our previous blog post about working, we talked about CPT – off-campus employment for F-1 students during a Rice degree program. But let’s say that now you’ve been at Rice for several years and realize that the end is near – soon you will receive your bachelors, masters, or PhD degree and need to do something practical with all of that newly acquired knowledge.

As an international student, are you allowed to work after graduation? Yes! After you have received OPT (Optional Practical Training) authorization from the U.S. government, you will be able to work for 12 months. But there are some guidelines:

If you were thinking of making some money at The Gap in Rice Village, tutoring high school students in Chinese, or doing a few shifts in the Galleria’s Apple Store, please don’t! All OPT employment must be directly related to your degree program. This is because the U.S. government wants you to get practical experience that specifically complements the academic studies and research for which you were granted an F-1 visa. Therefore, OPT is also not the time to “try out” another field or career: for example, if you receive a degree from Rice in chemical engineering, you cannot legally work as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley… you must work as a chemical engineer!

One of the advantages of OPT is that you do not need a job offer to apply. And while you are on OPT, you can work more than one job at a time (as long as it relates to your degree field) in order to gain a broad experience with different employers.

OPT requires an application to USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) that generally takes 2-3 months to process, so please plan ahead! Working even one day before you receive your EAD card (Employment Authorization Document) is a violation of your immigration status, so please come see us well in advance to start the process.

You may apply for OPT as early as 90 days before you complete your degree at Rice, so if you start the necessary paperwork early you will have a very good chance of receiving your work authorization in a timely manner.

For a detailed explanation of application requirements and procedures, please read OISS’s OPT Information Handout. OISS also holds several OPT information sessions each semester. The dates of these sessions will be posted on our web site and emailed to the oiss-announce listserv. Please plan to attend a session the semester before you graduate or schedule an appointment with an OISS advisor to discuss your situation.

Please also note that it is often difficult to renew your F-1 visa once you graduate and are on OPT. Many students who have expired visas end up staying in the U.S. for the entire year of their OPT. Therefore, consider going home for a visit (and to renew your visa) before you graduate!

We look forward to helping you with the OPT process as you start to plan for life after Rice!

~Written by Matt Stein, International and Sponsored Student Advisor

Surviving in Houston Without a Car

September 15th, 2010 by co7

No car?  No problem!

We know that as international students it can be difficult to travel around Houston if you don’t have a driver’s license or car. Since the METRORail was built in 2004, it has provided a safe and affordable means of transportation to many destinations.  This rail system easily allows for plenty of fun to be had without having a driver’s license!  There are a bunch of places to stop by for food and entertainment, just a few stops away and all for a decent price.  (Please go to this website for more options: http://www.visithoustontexas.com/media/ghcvb-press-kit/houston_aboard_the_metrorail)

There is a METRORail stop right across the street from Entrance 1 of the Rice campus (directly in front of Lovett Hall) and it is labeled Hermann Park/Rice U.

Tickets for the general public cost $1.25 (one-way) and can be purchased using cash or credit cards at any rail stop.  You can also purchase a Q-Card for easier travel and discounts.  Graduate students can purchase their Q-Cards from the

Cashier’s Office and undergrads can get their free Q-Card from their college.  All others can purchase them at various locations around the city.

* METRORail hours are:
4:30am-11:40pm (M-TH)
4:30am-2:20am (F)
5:30am-2:20am (SAT)
5:30am-11:40pm (SUN)

* Travel time from end to end is 30 minutes

* For METRORail information, call  (713) 635-4000 or visit www.RideMetro.org

While there are a lot of things to do off the light rail, I’m going to highlight some of my favorite stops!

My (loose) dress code guide:

Casual: Jeans, flip flops

Casual/Semi-Formal: Nice jeans or slacks, nice shoes, or casual skirts/dresses for ladies

SemiFormal: Slacks and button up shirt for gentlemen, skirt/dress/dress pants for ladies

Semi-Formal/Formal: Slacks, button up shirt, and tie (maybe whole suit) for gentlemen, dress or formal skirts for ladies

Estimated Cost Guide (including tip):

$ = Really affordable, $10 or less

$$ = Affordable, $11-20

$$$ = Pricey, $21 and up

Restaurants:

SPAGHETTI WAREHOUSE (Casual $$) They are famous for their traditional recipes.  The original location is in Dallas, but this is a very popular chain around the US. The portion sizes are huge, the décor gives you plenty to look at, and it is said to be haunted!  Rail Stop UH-Downtown, 3 blocks @ 901 Commerce St.

CAVA BISTRO (Semi-formal $$) This New American bistro has a variety of dishes with influences from around the world.  It has a cozy atmosphere perfect for a romantic night out on the town.  Rail Stop Preston, ½ block @ 301 Main St.

CIELO MEXICAN BISTRO (Casual/Semi-Formal $$)  With a fun flair of modern Mexican food and live salsa bands on certain nights, this is a fun spot to grab a bite to eat and relax.  You’ll enjoy the lively décor and fun atmosphere of the weekends here.  Rail Stop Preston, ½ block @ 300 Main St.

VOICE (Semi-Formal/Formal $$$) This is definitely a place to go if you’re looking to impress!  Located in the Hotel Icon (former a bank—complete with vault in the front room), the stellar service, high end food, and sophisticated venue will have your group duly impressed.  Rail Stop Preston, 1 block @ 220 Main St.

EL REY TAQUERIA (Casual $) This is a great place to grab a quick bite, especially if you’re out late at night—they’re open until 3 a.m.!  The food is a blend of Cuban and Mexican influences at a great price.  Rail Stop Preston, 1 ½ blocks @ 233 Main St.

HEARSAY GASTRO LOUNGE (Casual/Semi-Formal $$) Located in a historic building (built in 1889) originally set to be destroyed in the early 90s, this venue has all the history and charm of Houston.  The restaurant focuses on upscale pub fare and is a great place to enjoy a night out on the town. Rail Stop Preston, 2 blocks @ 218 Travis St.

FRANK’S PIZZA (Casual $) A great place for a slice of pizza and famous for their hand-tossed crusts.  They’re open late (until 3 a.m.) for the night owls!  Rail Stop Preston, 2 blocks @ 417 Travis St.

17 RESTAURANT (Semi-Formal/Formal $$$) A high-end restaurant inside of the Alden Hotel will provide you with a romantic night out with inventive New American meals. Rail Stop Preston, 3 blocks @ 1117 Prairie St.

LES GIVRAL’S (Casual $)  Known for their stellar Vietnamese cuisine, particularly their bhan mis (sandwiches) and pho (noodle soup), this restaurant is a staple for fast, affordable food.  Rail Stop Preston, 3 blocks @ 801 Congress St. *Note: Valhalla serves their bhan mis during lunch and dinner.

VIC & ANTHONY’S STEAKHOUSE (Semi-Formal $$$) Famous for their steaks and seafood, this is a great place to go if you’re a carnivore looking to enjoy a Texas sized meal. Rail Stop Preston, 6 blocks @ 1510 Texas St.

IRMA’S SOUTHWEST GRILL (Casual/Semi-Formal $) This small Tex-Mex restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch during the weekdays, but they’re especially famous for their stopping in before an Astro’s game.  They open up 3 hours before each Astro’s game to fill you up for all 9 innings.  Rail Stop Preston, 6 blocks @ 1314 Texas St.

MCCORMICK & SCHMICKS (Semi-Formal $$$) Living near the Gulf of Mexico definitely has its advantages—like great seafood!  This is a great spot for a nice meal with great, fresh seafood. Main Street Square, 1 block @ 1201 Fannin St.

ANDALUCIA TAPAS & TAVERNA (Casual $) This is a fun place for authentic Spanish tapas (both hot and cold) which is perfect for sharing.  Main Street Square, 2 blocks @ 1201 San Jacinto St.

ZIGGY’S GRILL (Casual $) A perfect location for those of you who are health conscious and caters to all diet types (including low fat, low sugar, low carb).  They also have many vegetarian items on the menu! Main Street Square, 2 blocks @ 702 Main St.

STRIP HOUSE (Semi-Formal $$$) This upscale New York-style steakhouse has some of the best steaks in the city. And the sides are nothing short of spectacular. Main Street Square, 2 ½ blocks @ 1200 McKinney St.

THE GROVE (Semi-Formal $$) Right in the middle of Discovery Green park is a wonderful, upscale restaurant very reminiscent of our own Brochstein Pavillion.  With all the glass walls, it has a great view of the park and on nice days, you can sit on the roof to enjoy your meal. Main Street Square, 5 blocks @ 1500 McKinney St.

THE LAKE HOUSE (Casual $) This is a family-friendly café, perfect for grabbing a quick bite.  They also have ice cream and milk shakes for those extra hot days in the summer, so when you’re enjoying a day in Discovery Green, you can still relax and cool off. Main Street Square, 5 blocks @ 1500 McKinney St.

CYCLONE ANAYA’S (Casual/Semi-Formal $$) Come enter the ring with delicious Tex-Mex food in a fun environment honoring the wrestling champion, Cyclone Anaya.  Rail Stop Downtown Transit Center, 8 blocks @ 309 Gray St.

COCO’S CREPES & COFFEE (Casual $) A great place to get crepes—sweet or savory!  You’ll see plenty of laptops and with their free wi-fi and great coffee, this is a perfect place to study off campus.  Rail Stop Downtown Transit Center, 9 blocks @ 218 Gray St.

THIS IS IT SOUL FOOD (Casual $) Famous for cooking traditional African-American “soul food,” you wont’ leave hungry from this cafeteria style restaurant!  Rail Stop Downtown Transit Center, 10 blocks @ 207 Gray St.

REEF (Semi-Casual $$) This award winning restaurant is known for great seafood and a fun weekend crowd, complete with DJ.  Rail Stop Downtown Transit Center, 1 ½ blocks @ 2600 Travis St.

IBIZA FOOD & WINE (Semi-Formal $$$) If you’re looking for a modern, upscale restaurant, look no further! With delicious food and a romantic ambiance, this restaurant is sure to impress.  Rail Stop Downtown Transit Center, 3 blocks @ 2450 Louisiana St.

EL PATIO (Casual $) If you’re looking for a great place to relax with some great Tex-Mex, this is a place to check out.  With mariachi bands four times a week, you’ll definitely get a fun, Mexican experience. Rail Stop Downtown Transit Center, 6 blocks @ 2416 Brazos St.

TACOS A GO-GO (Casual $) This is a local favorite for great, cheap food and eclectic décor.  They’re also open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for your late night fix.  Rail Stop Ensemble/HCC, ½ block @ 3704 Main St.

THE BREAKFAST KLUB (Casual $) This is a Houston legend and a line to show for it!  Expect to wait in a long line that wraps around the restaurant on weekends, but it is well worth the wait to have some of their famous wings and waffles!  Rail Stop Ensemble/HCC, 1 ½ blocks @ 3711 Travis St.

T’AFIA (Semi-Formal $$) Award winning Monica Pope has her restaurant focusing on the use of local food to prepare unique dishes.  Rail Stop Ensemble/HCC, 1½ blocks @ 3701 Travis St.

SUSHI RAKU (Semi-Formal $$) If you’re looking for a chic sushi restaurant, come check out the plush dining here.  With hip, modern décor and fresh sushi, you’re sure to be pleased. Rail Stop Ensemble/HCC, 6 blocks @ 3201 Louisiana St.

BRENNAN’S OF HOUSTON (Semi-Formal/Formal $$$) After a devastating fire, this restaurant reopened with much excitement for the Houston community. The impeccable service and fine dining will make any dinner a special occasion. Rail Stop Ensemble/HCC, 7 blocks @ 3300 Smith St.

BODEGA’S TACO SHOP (Casual $) A great place to get a fast lunch and choose all your topping to go on your tacos, burritos, and nachos. They’re also famous for having over ten different types of salsas! Rail Stop Hermann Park/Rice U, 1 block @ 1200 Binz St.

LITTLE BIG’S (Casual $) This restaurant is actually inside Hermann Park (on the Lake between the Zoo and the Kinder Train Station) and specializes in sliders—mini burgers (including a vegetarian black bean burger) Open until sunset. Rail Stop Hermann Park/Rice U, ¾ mile @ 1600 Zoo Circle Dr.

TREVISIO (Semi-Formal $$$) As the only fine dining restaurant in the Texas Medical Center, this may be a perfect place to unwind and get a great view of the city while eating homemade Italian.  Rail Stop Texas Medical Center, 2 blocks @ 6550 Bertner Ave.

Fun Spots:

ALLEN’S LANDING (Casual FREE) Often described as “Houston’s Plymouth Rock,” Allen’s Landing is the birthplace of Houston.  This historic spot overlooks White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou and features a revitalized concrete paved wharf, promenade, walking trails and a terrace overlooking the bayou. This is also home to a celebration of Houston’s Asian-American community.  On the water, there is a festival of racers (from the Texas Dragon Boat Association) who compete in a race to promote Asian culture and food. Rail Stop UH-Downtown, 2 blocks @ 1001 Commerce St.

SAMBUCA (Casual/Semi-Formal $$) While they are also a restaurant, they’re actually known for their great live music.  They have bands that vary from jazz to zydeco to latin and plenty of dancing going on.  Rail Stop Preston, 2 ½ blocks @ 909 Texas Ave.

THEATER DISTRICT (Semi-Formal/Formal $-$$$) This expansive, 17 block area is home to 9 different performance organizations including Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Alley Theatre and Houston Symphony.  Rail Stop Preston, 5 ½ blocks @ 615 Texas Ave. *Note: Rice students can use the Passport to Houston program to receive discounts on many of the performing arts events.

MINUTE MAID PARK (Casual $-$$) Enjoy America’s favorite pastime, but watching the Houston Astros play in a retractable roof stadium!  Baseball season is from April through October and this is a great way to feel like a true Houstonian! Rail Stop Preston, 8 blocks @ 501 Crawford St.

MACY’S (Casual $-$$$) As one of the oldest department stores in Houston, Macy’s meets all your shopping needs for clothing, housewares, and gifts.  Rail Stop Main Street Square, 1/3 block @ 1110 Main St.

HOUSTON PAVILIONS (Depends on venue $-$$$) Think of it as a mall in the heart of downtown!  They have a bunch of restaurants, shops, and activities to participate in including Books-A-Million (bookstore), Lucky Strike Lanes (bowling), and House of Blues (world famous music venue).  Rail Stop Main Street Square, 1/2 block @ 1201 Main St.

DISCOVERY GREEN PARK (Casual FREE) Houston’s downtown park is guaranteed to have something for everyone, including a sprinkler system for kids, ice skating in the winter, yoga in the park, concerts, art projects, farmer’s market and two restaurants.  Rail Stop Main Street Square, 5 blocks @ 1500 McKinney St.

TOYOTA CENTER (Casual $-$$$) Come watch the pros play!  This is the home of our professional basketball team (Rockets) and hockey time (Aeros).  Don’t miss any of the action—tickets can be very affordable, especially for groups! Rail Stop Main Street Square, 6 blocks @ 1510 Polk St.

GEORGE R. BROWN CONVENTION CENTER (Depends on event $-$$$) Serving as the main convention center for Houston, you’ll see conferences, tradeshows, concerts, and plenty of other events throughout the year available to meet all interests! Rail Stop Main Street Square, 6 blocks @ 1001 Avenida De Las Americas

MIDTOWN FARMER’S MARKET (Casual $) With over 20 local farms showcased, this is a great place to look for local produce.  Every Saturday from 8 a.m.-Noon. Rail Stop Ensemble/HCC, 1½ blocks @ 3701 Travis St.

CONTINENTAL CLUB (Casual $-$$) For a true, Texas concert venue, you must check out this place.  The bands come from all around and are a Texas mix of rock-n-roll, blues, and country.  *21 and over only Rail Stop Ensemble/HCC, ½ block @ 3700 Main St.

THE ENSEMBLE THEATRE (Casual/Semi-Formal $-$$) This is the largest African-American professional theatre company in the U.S. with affordable tickets and plenty of culture. Rail Stop Ensemble/HCC, ½ block @ 3535 Main St.

SIG’S LAGOON (Casual $) This eclectic record store has more than just music—be sure to check out all the bobbleheads! Rail Stop Ensemble/HCC, ½ block @ 3710 Main St.

ADKINS ARCHITECTURAL ANTIQUES (Casual $-$$) This is a great place to find unique antiques and accessories for decorating your place or just pursuing their extensive collection of door knobs!  Rail Stop Ensemble/HCC, 2 blocks @ 3515 Fannin St.

HOUSTON CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY CRAFT (Casual FREE ) If you’re looking for a unique place to see art made of various mediums (including of glass, fiber, clay, metal or wood).  Free to general public. Rail Stop Wheeler, 5 blocks @ 4848 Main St.

LAWNDALE ART CENTER (Casual FREE) A great place to come and support contemporary arts in Houston. They’re especially famous for The Big Show which is open to all Houston artists. Rail Stop Wheeler, 6 blocks @ 4912 Main St.

MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON (Casual $, FREE with Rice ID) This museum is the 6th largest art museum in the US and has more than 30 changing exhibits every year.  While general admission is free on Thursdays, it is free to Rice students at anytime with their Rice ID card.  Rail Stop Museum District, 1 block @ 1001 Bissonnet St.

HOLOCAUST MUSEUM (Casual FREE) This museum focuses on the dangers of prejudice and hatred in society. Free to general public. Rail Stop Museum District, 2 blocks @ 5401 Caroline St.

CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM HOUSTON (Casual FREE) With many exhibits rotating through this museum and their famous gift shop (perfect for finding unique gifts), this is a great way to spend an afternoon.  Free to general public. Rail Stop Museum District, 3 blocks @ 5216 Montrose Blvd.

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF HOUSTON (Casual FREE on Thursdays, $) Renown throughout the US for its exhibits, your children will definitely enjoy all the interactive games that will help make learning fun!  Admission is free Thursday evenings from 5-8pm. Rail Stop Museum District, 3 blocks @ 1500 Binz St.

THE HEALTH MUSEUM (Casual FREE on Thursdays, $) This is a unique opportunity to be interactive with health education and to learn more about the human body! Visitors enjoy free general admission on Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m.  Rail Stop Museum District, 4 blocks @ 1515 Hermann Dr.

HERMANN PARK (Casual FREE) This a huge park (over 445 acres!) with gardens, picnic tables, lakes, a small train for children, and so much more!  It is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon with a bunch of friends.  Rail Stop Hermann Park/Rice U, 3 blocks @ 6201 Hermann Park Dr.

HOUSTON MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE (Casual $, FREE with Rice ID) This museum has something for everyone!  They have an IMAX theatre, great traveling exhibitions, the famous butterfly exhibit, and some amazing permanent exhibits (our favorite—the gem vault!).  The museum is free Tuesdays from 2-6pm, but the permanent exhibits are free everyday for Rice students with their ID.  Rail Stop Hermann Park/Rice U, 3 blocks @ 1 Hermann Circle Dr.

MILLER OUTDOOR THEATRE (Casual FREE) Ever wanted to listen to a concert under the stars?  Well, this the perfect place then!  Bring a blanket and some snacks to enjoy all the free music and dance performances from April through October (weather permitting). Rail Stop Hermann Park/Rice U, 1/3 mile @ 6000 Hermann Park Dr.

HOUSTON ZOO (Casual $, FREE with Rice ID) This enormous zoo (55 acres!) is home to about 4,500 different animals! Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes—you won’t want to leave until you’ve seen all the exhibits! Best of all, entry is always free with your Rice ID card! Rail Stop Memorial Hermann Hospital/Houston Zoo, 1/3 mile @ 6200 Hermann Park Dr.

TEXAS MEDICAL CENTER (Casual) Everything is bigger in Texas!  With 47+ member institutions, 5 million patients annually and more than 72,000 employees, it’s no wonder it’s the largest medical center in the world. The entire Texas Medical Center covers more than 1,100 acres. Rail Stop Texas Medical Center, 0 blocks @ 2450 Holcombe Blvd.

RELIANT STADIUM (Casual $-$$) As home of our professional football team, the Houston Texans, you can catch a exciting game here during the season (August through January). Rail Stop Reliant Park, 0 blocks @ 2 Reliant Park

RELIANT PARK
(Casual $-$$) Don’t let the word “park” fool you from the title—this is an enormous area that is home to the world famous Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (the largest rodeo in the world!).  This is a truly Texas event that must be experienced in March. Rail Stop Reliant Park, 0 blocks @ 1 Reliant Park

HERMANN PARK (Casual FREE) This a huge park (over 445 acres!) with gardens, picnic tables, lakes, a small train for children, and so much more!  It is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon with a bunch of friends.  Rail Stop Hermann Park/Rice U, 3 blocks @ 6201 Hermann Park Dr.

HOUSTON MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE (Casual $, FREE with Rice ID) This museum has something for everyone!  They have an IMAX theatre, great traveling exhibitions, the famous butterfly exhibit, and some amazing permanent exhibits (our favorite—the gem vault!).  The museum is free Tuesdays from 2-6pm, but the permanent exhibits are free everyday for Rice students with their ID.  Rail Stop Hermann Park/Rice U, 3 blocks @ 1 Hermann Circle Dr.

MILLER OUTDOOR THEATRE (Casual FREE) Ever wanted to listen to a concert under the stars?  Well, this the perfect place then!  Bring a blanket and some snacks to enjoy all the free music and dance performances from April through October (weather permitting). Rail Stop Hermann Park/Rice U, 1/3 mile @ 6000 Hermann Park Dr.

HOUSTON ZOO (Casual $, FREE with Rice ID) This enormous zoo (55 acres!) is home to about 4,500 different animals! Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes—you won’t want to leave until you’ve seen all the exhibits! Best of all, entry is always free with your Rice ID card! Rail Stop Memorial Hermann Hospital/Houston Zoo, 1/3 mile @ 6200 Hermann Park Dr.

~Written by Cory Owen, Senior International Advisor

Free English Classes

September 6th, 2010 by co7

Every year, our wonderful volunteers donate their time and knowledge to our international students in an array of different English classes. Some of them have dedicated their time to Rice internationals for many, many years in an effort to help them get through the culture shock of living in a foreign country. It doesn’t matter how good or bad your English is, we have a class that will surely fit your needs!

Would you like to speak like a native Texan? Join the idioms and slang classes and soon you’ll be on the way to speak like a true Texan! If idioms and slang is not your preference, OISS also provides classes in beginning, intermediate, and advance English and it’s all FREE!!!

Classes start October 4th and everyone in the Rice community is welcomed! That includes spouses, scholars/students, faculty, and staff. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at dvp1@rice.edu. Stay tuned to oiss-announce for times and locations coming out soon!

Hope to see y’all soon!

~Written byVanessa Peña, International Department Coordinator

 
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