Deb Schaffer

Apr 03 2015

Tips for International Students at the University of Iowa

Tips for International Students at the University of Iowa

College is a time of transition, especially for international students entering college in a foreign country. As you leave behind your home, family, and country to study abroad, we would like to offer a few tips to help you adjust to your new situation and surroundings.

Familiarize yourself with Iowa City. The University of Iowa and Iowa City offer year-round cultural events, such as jazz and art festivals, area museums, concerts, and quality theatre productions. Take a walk on the Pedestrian Mall in downtown Iowa City and sample the unique shopping and dining venues there. Search online for activities and events that interest you, or visit for ideas to enrich your Iowa City experience.

Read the news. Keep up to date with the latest local and international news. Not only will you learn more about current events and local weather, but you’ll have lots of topics for conversation starters as you meet new friends. Here are some online newspapers you might consider:

Connect with others through social networks. Whatever your interests are—biking, hiking, reading, movies—find other fans on the internet. Reach out to those individuals and interest groups with common interests via social media to make friends in your new environment.

Get involved with university activities. One of the best ways to maximize your college experience is to get involved. Join clubs, volunteer, or become a student ambassador or tutor to get to know students and faculty members outside the classroom. You may make friendships that can last a lifetime. The student-run group OASIS (Organization for the Active Support of International Students)  is a great way to meet other international students.

Don’t be afraid to ask. In the American culture, asking questions or asking for help is viewed as a positive action. “There’s no such thing as a stupid question,” means there is no need to apologize for needing help. Asking questions shows that you’re interested in the other person’s point of view; asking for help gives others the opportunity to feel valuable and useful. Don’t be shy: ask!

Get a bank account that can offer convenience and flexibility. Hills Bank is the only financial institution authorized by the University for campus banking. Here are a few reasons to consider Hills Bank for your banking needs:

  • We offer convenient locations at the Iowa Memorial Union, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and downtown Iowa City in the Old Capitol Town Center as well as offering over 20 free Hills Bank ATMs (The owner of a non-Hills Bank ATM may surchage, but that’s their fee not ours!) on the University of Iowa campus.
  • We offer Visa® Credit Cards with an application process that is easy and fast. When used responsibly, credit cards help establish credit history and a good credit score. You can make online purchases anywhere Visa® is accepted both in stores and online, and it offers convenience while traveling. You can even customize yours with a picture of your family or friends at
  • Our Old Capitol Town Center location has a Spanish and Mandarin language capable ATM in the lobby as well as a full-service banking center with notary service and staff who are ready to help you with your banking needs.
  • We have online banking with a free app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play.
Hills Bank at the Old Capitol Town Center

Hills Bank at the Old Capitol Town Center.

Hills Bank and Trust Company Iowa Memorial Union Location

Hills Bank at the Iowa Memorial Union.

I invite you to stop by Hills Bank when you are in the Old Capitol Town Center for a cup of flavored coffee, and if you come on a Friday you can enjoy a free cookie! We also have weekly trivia questions where you may become eligible to win a prize if you have the correct answer. We’d be happy to see you and discuss how we can help you with your financial needs so you can focus on being a student and enjoying your study abroad.

Deb Schaffer

About Deb Schaffer

Deb Schaffer is a Vice President and Branch Manager at Hills Bank’s Iowa City Downtown and Iowa Memorial Union locations. She has been at Hills Bank since 1994 guiding customers toward their financial goals. She is actively involved with her five children, assisting her husband Mike milk their small jersey dairy herd. She enjoys being involved with UI events, so be on the lookout for Deb at UI Student Orientations; she would love to meet you. Deb can be reached at

This entry was posted in Personal Banking and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.