Limestone University takes great pride in our unwavering commitment to supporting international students on their academic journey. We believe that diversity enriches the educational experience for all, and we are dedicated to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for students from around the world.
Our support for international students is designed to ensure a smooth transition into college life. Here are some key highlights of the services and resources we offer:
International Student Hub:
The Equity & Inclusion Office is the hub for our international students once you arrive on campus. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are here to assist you with any questions you have while a student at Limestone University. Some of the services they provide are:
- Visa Information
- Campus Involvement
- Academic Support
- Local Resources (bank accounts, domestic phone/phone number, driver’s license, social security card, etc.)
Our faculty and staff are committed to helping you excel in your studies. We offer tutoring services, writing programs, and academic advising to ensure you have the tools and guidance you need to succeed.
We offer orientation programs to help you acclimate to our campus and the local community. These programs cover academic expectations, cultural integration, and events introducing you to other students.
Health and Wellness:
Your well-being is a top priority. We provide access to health services, counseling, and wellness programs to support your physical and mental health throughout your college journey.
We celebrate diversity and encourage cross-cultural exchange. We host various cultural events, clubs, and organizations that provide opportunities for international students to connect with their peers, share their experiences, and build lasting friendships.
Contact us for more information:
Equity and Inclusion
- Do I need to get a social security number?
Students must have a social security number to work on campus at Limestone. This is the number the United States government uses to take taxes out of your wages. If you are interested in working on campus during your time at Limestone, you should follow steps 1-3 below:
- Schedule an appointment with the Social Security office in Spartanburg (enter 29340 as the zip code).
- If you have secured a campus job, contact Mrs. Patti Lankford (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a letter stating you will be working on campus. If you have NOT secured a job, please contact Chris Phenicie (email@example.com). Tell them who you are and your major so they can write the appropriate letter for the appointment. Do this at least two days before your appointment.
- Gather the following documents and print them for your appointment. They MUST be printed.
- Your application. Go to this website (here) and fill out the form. You only need to fill in page 5 and print the form (all five pages).
- Your passport
- Your 1-20 forms
- Your I-94 form (located here). Go to “get the most recent I-94 form” and enter your passport information. Print your form.
- Your letter from Mrs. Patti Lankford or Chris Phenicie.
- Secure a ride. Many students get rides from teammates or their coaches. You will want to give yourself about 45 minutes to get there as the drive is 30 minutes long and you will need time for parking. The appointment usually takes 15 minutes.
- What is a tax return, and do I need to do it?
If you work on campus, the government deducts taxes from your paycheck. Sometimes, the tax they take out is an estimate of how much you owe. At the beginning of each calendar year (by April 15th), students who have worked are required to file a tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This involves filling out paperwork to show how much you earned and how much they took out. Usually, you find they took out extra, and you will get that money back. You must file taxes for the federal government and the state of South Carolina as both take taxes out of your paycheck. Most international students use Sprintax to file their taxes. You can find out more information by clicking here.
If you are an international student who was in the U.S. and did not work on campus, you are required to fill out a Non-Employed 8843 form found here.
- Where is Limestone?
Limestone University is located in the Southeastern United States in the state of South Carolina. South Carolina is halfway between New York City and Miami (about 11 hours each way by car) and is about the same size and population as Scotland (Just over 5 million people living in and around 80,000 km2)
The town of Gaffney is in the northwestern corner of the state, known as “the Upstate,” and is not far from the border of North Carolina.
Gaffney is a small city (around 13,000 people). Spartanburg is about half an hour away by car and is slightly bigger. Greenville, a medium-sized city, is about an hour away and has much to offer. Charlotte is also about an hour away and is a big city.
- What is the college like?
Limestone’s campus is relatively small and compact, as shown on the map here. This small size allows students to easily get around campus without a car. You can walk from one end of campus to the other in less than 15 minutes. The college was founded in 1845, and many campus buildings are older and charming. Other buildings, like the Hines & Riggins Student Center (the “HRC”), are brand new, and many of our students spend a lot of time there. The HRC houses the Student Success Division, the campus post office, the campus library, Café 1845 (serving Starbucks coffee), Freshens Food Kitchen, a gaming area with pool tables, table games, and video games), and plenty of seating.
At Limestone, class sizes are small, allowing Faculty, staff, and students to get to know each other well. It’s not uncommon for faculty and staff members to spend time with students outside of class – eating together in the cafeteria, for example.
Limestone offers a beautifully diverse student population with a significant international influence, enriching the community. Diversity reflects the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religion, and political beliefs. We prioritize an equitable, inclusive, and supportive educational environment for all our students.
- What should I know before coming to campus?
Most students fly into either Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP), Charlotte (CLT), or Atlanta (ATL). GSP is only a 35-minute drive from campus, CLT is just over an hour, and ATL is about 3 hours; CLT is where most students fly in and out. You need to secure a ride from the airport to campus, as no public transportation goes to Limestone. Students on sports teams often coordinate rides with their coaches or get rides from teammates.
Plan on packing clothing, sheets (twin XL), towels, and blankets for cold weather.
Limestone is over 4 miles (7km) from a large outlet mall with stores like Nike and Adidas and about 3 miles (5 km) from a Walmart, a large store that stocks everything from clothing and furniture to groceries. The Saints Stop is a place on campus where students with food insecurities and temporary needs can go for snacks, laundry detergent, and toiletries.
Plugs in the United States are either Type A or Type B. You will want to bring an adapter to plug in any electrical appliances you have if your country does not use Type A or Type B.
- What is the food like in the United States?
Most students eat in the dining hall (i.e., “the cafe”). The dining hall offers a variety of foods during each meal to cater to the various tastes of students. You can check the hours and menus daily by clicking here.
There are several international restaurants within driving distance. Restaurants in Charlotte, Spartanburg, Columbia, and Greenville showcase food from various countries around the world.
- Are there churches or worship centers for my religion in the area?
Many churches and worship centers are in the area and within an hour of campus. For more information, contact Limestone’s Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Life, Dr. Tom LeGrand.
- Are there other people from my country near Limestone?
The Upstate of South Carolina is very diverse. The BMW manufacturing headquarters (German) for the United States is in Spartanburg County, and Michelin (France) headquarters is in Greenville. These are just two international companies that have made South Carolina home. There is an organization in Greenville dedicated to supporting international exchange in the Upstate of South Carolina. They can often connect you with someone from your home area. Find out more here. The Hispanic Alliance of the Upstate (see here) is another excellent place to connect with Hispanics in the area.
- Is there public transportation?
You may come from countries where city buses, trains, and subways are part of daily travel. Some of the bigger cities in the United States offer these forms of travel; however, Gaffney is a smaller city with limited public transportation. Many students get rides from their teammates and friends that have cars. Students also use Uber and Lyft. There is also a bike share program that charges a small fee.
- What is the weather like?
- What is health insurance? Why am I required to purchase it?
Many, but not all, of our international students come from countries that have socialized healthcare systems. This means that you pay little to nothing when you have medical needs. Currently, the United States does not have such a system. Most people in the United States either purchase a health insurance plan or get a plan with their job. As we cannot guarantee the type of coverage our students have when they arrive at Limestone, all students are required to pay for health insurance while they are students. Limestone does not make any money in the process. However, we want to ensure that students are covered if they have a health emergency while on campus. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office.
- How do I open a bank account?
International students may want to open a U.S. bank account while they are students to make it easier to cash checks or use direct deposit. Some banks even allow your loved ones back home to deposit money in your U.S. bank account through the Zelle app. You are welcome to use any bank in the U.S., although most of our international students use Wells Fargo Bank. It is just over 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from campus and has locations nationwide. Find out more about opening a bank account by clicking here.
- Can I work while I am a student?
Students on an F1 Visa are only allowed to work on-campus jobs in the United States; however, these opportunities are very limited. Some options include:
- Tutoring – for students who do well in classes and have been at Limestone for at least a semester, you can apply to be a tutor by contacting Rachel Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Housing – If you have been at Limestone for at least a semester, you can apply for a resident assistant (RA) position. To apply, contact Jessica Goins at email@example.com
- Extracurriculars – Sometimes, there are jobs working with the Activities and Intramurals department. To inquire, contact McKenzie Hite at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dining Services – To see if there are any positions available in dining services, contact Joe Fields at email@example.com
- Maintenance – contact Hayden Hutchings at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.