International House (IHouse)

Int'l Graduate and Professional Students

Spring 2018 International Graduate and Professional Student Orientation

Hello, new international graduate and professional students of Spring 2018! Welcome to Duke!

International House is here to help you to adjust your new life at Duke, in Durham, and in the U.S.

The International Graduate/Professional Student Spring 2018 Orientation is scheduled on Friday, January 5th, 10am-1:30pm, at CMA (Center for Multicultural Affairs) Resource Room, at the bottom level of Bryan Center. It is the student union building on the left side of Duke Chapel. Look at this online pdf map - you can zoom in to see where the Bryan Center is.


  • 10:00am-11:00am     Introduction & Orientation
  • 11:00am-12:30pm     Resource Fair (You can open a bank account, get information on transportation, career development resources, Duke recreation, and much more)
  • 12:30pm-01:30pm     Lunch

Please register by January 2nd, 2018 here:

Questions? Email to


IHOPs (International House Orientation Peers)


Grad IHOPs are current graduate/professional students at Duke who help incoming international grad/professional students and guide them through the transition period and during the orientation week.




Amulya Kaza | India |
Biomedical Engineering

I am a 22-year-old Indian student in BME department of Duke Pratt School of Engineering. When I am not knee-deep in coursework or projects, I daydream about being an entrepreneur in my country, or having conversations with my favorite literary characters, or trying to spread my opinion on Twitter. I am not too keen about Facebook or Instagram but always eager to have an actual and meaningful conversation with people. With supportive fellow students and faculty, endless opportunities, and celebration of diversity at Duke, I have grown exponentially in my skill set and my inner self. I am excited to be an IHOP member and share my experiences and create new ones and proud to welcome the incoming international students.




Blen Biru | Ethiopia |
Master in Global Health     

My name is Blen Biru. I am originally from Ethiopia. I completed my undergraduate studies at Mount Holyoke College with a Biological Sciences and French degree. I am now a second year master'€™s student in the Duke Global Health Institute. My research focuses on positive mental health. When I am not in the library doing schoolwork, I enjoy biking, playing tennis and traveling. I also love Duke basketball and the beautiful weather in North Carolina! :)




Edgar Virguez | Colombia |
Nicholas School of Environment, PhD

Edgar is a first year doctoral student at the Nicholas School of the Environment. He is interested in constructing stochastic decision models that allow policy makers to determine the optimal allocation of societal resources into environmental mitigation strategies. He has a special interest in models that contribute to the adoption of renewable energies into the energy market. During the last decade Edgar has worked with several institutions (e.g., Universidad de los Andes, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank) promoting the adoption of cleaner fuels in transport and industry through Latin America.
In August 2016, he moved from Bogota, Colombia (his hometown country) to Durham with his wife. Following his experience during this process, he is eager to help international students with the process of becoming new Duke Members.



Huseyin Gurkan | Turkey |
Fuqua School of Business, PhD

My name is Huseyin and I am a third year PhD student in the Fuqua School of Business. I am from Turkey, and before my education in Duke I received my bachelor's and master's degrees in Bilkent University. In my free time, I like jogging, cycling in Duke campus and discovering new places. I wish all of you a great time here in Duke.




Jieyao Wang | China |
Master in Economics

Hi! I am currently a first year master'™s student in Economics, with an interest in global economy and financial markets. Inspired by the help from my IHOP when I first got to Duke, I decide to join the IHOP program to assist more international students to adapt to Duke life, to Durham, and to U.S.

I was born and raised in Shanghai, China, and have also traveled to France, Spain, and Japan. I am sociable, outgoing, and willing to help other people. I enjoy music, good food, sports, basically every topic that you are interested in! I can't wait to hear about your amazing stories. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to email me, and I am more than happy to help you with the transition to Duke life!



Megha Aggarwal | India |
Master of Engineering Management

Currently pursuing Masters in Engineering Management (popularly known as MEM), I have been a part of the Duke community since January, 2017. Prior to Duke, I did my Bachelors in Biotechnology from India. Here at Duke, I have contributed towards the program outreach as a part of the Creative Communications Committee. To contribute to a social cause and work in an interdiscipline environment, I joined DISI. Outside of Duke, Durham life has so much to offer. I volunteered for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, worked in a team setting and managed huge crowds. With the plethora of opportunities available at Duke, it could be overwhelming. As an IHOP, I hope to contribute to make your transition to Duke smoother.



Mubeen Mosaheb | Mauritius |
Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

I grew up in Mauritius (small Island on the East coast of Africa). I moved to the U.S. for my undergraduate at Tufts University in 2010. I graduated from Tufts with a degree in Molecular Biology in 2014 and joined the Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Department here at Duke. I have spent the last 3 years here at Duke studying the immune system and cancer with the hope of developing new more effective cancer vaccines.

Whenever I am not in lab, I try to venture out of the area to find some good food. I enjoy spicy international food; always trying to find something new. I also enjoy exploring the various trails in the area. In addition to English, I speak Creole and French. I would be happy to assist you with any questions.



Patricia Johnson | United States |
Chemistry, PhD

Hi, I'm Patricia! I am starting my second year as a graduate student in the Duke chemistry department. I am originally from Upstate New York, and I moved to Durham a year ago. I like traveling, trying new types of food, and reading. Here at Duke, I am involved in WiSE, chemistry outreach, and Duke Symphony Orchestra. I taught lab classes the past two semesters, but now I am focusing on my research in polymer mechanochemistry.




Ran Huo | China |
Mathematics, PhD

I am a rising forth-year PhD student in Mathematics. I come from Nanning, a southern city of China adjacent to Vietnam. My research interest lies in probability and analysis. Besides being a mathematician, I am also a food adventurer, basketball player, photographer and a very amateur drawer.





Siddharth Kawadiya | India |
Environmental Engineering, PhD

I am a PhD student in Environmental Engineering in the Pratt School of Engineering. In my free time, I enjoy reading, playing tennis and binge watching TV series (who doesn't?)  I know from experience that the first few days in an unfamiliar place can be challenging, especially if you do not know anyone. I will be delighted to help you transition into this new life, and adapt to the culture here in the US. Please feel free to contact me regarding any queries you might have, I'm always willing to chat! I look forward to meeting all of you, and welcome to Duke!



Sruthi Mandalap | United States |
Master in Engineering Management

I am a graduate student in the Master of Engineering Management program at Pratt School of Engineering. I enjoy meeting new people and building interpersonal relationships. When I'm not slaving away at the library, you'll find me at the Badminton court. Duke has given me the amazing opportunity to represent us multiple times at nationals. As part of the Creative Communications Committee of my program I have been able to let loose my creative side. My Duke journey so far has been a wondering experience and I hope you'll feel the same too during your time here.



Tinashe Nyanhete | Zimbabwe |
Immunology, PhD    

Hi everyone and congrats on choosing Duke. My name is Tinashe and I am a rising 4th year PhD student in the Immunology program. Before coming to Durham I was in Upstate New York where I did my undergraduate studies at Colgate University. I was born and raised in a small town known as Rusape on the eastern border of Zimbabwe. When I am not busy studying human immune cells, I can always be found on the soccer field or biking around Durham. I love everything soccer-related and I am slowly getting into the Durham music scene. I am excited to be meeting you all this fall and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.


Yinshi Gao | China |
Masters in Economics

My name is Yinshi Gao, a second-year (when the new students come here, I am in second year ) MA Econ student. I'€™ve spent my past 21 years living in Beijing, China, and Durham is my second €œplace of residence. When you arrive here, probably you will feel the way like I did when I first came to Duke, surrounded by the forest-like environment which is nothing suitable for a city girl but perfectly suitable for academic research studies. Never mind, I promise you that you'€™ll love Duke.

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Pre-Departure Information

Please take a look at this video below that introduces IHouse orientation programs and other services. 



  • Make travel plans to arrive at Duke early enough to attend the International Graduate and Professional Orientation
  • By airplane: Reserve your flight to the Raleigh/Durham (RDU) International airport. Car rentals and taxis are available at the airport.
  • Taxicab: The fare is about $35.00 - $40.00 to Durham and Duke. A tip of 10% plus $1.00 per suitcase is normal. This service is available 24 hours a day.  
  • International House does not coordinate graduate student airport pickups from RDU.  Some student organizations have volunteers that will pick students up from the airport. Contact your department or school for more information. 
  • Chinese graduate and professional students may contact DCSSA for assistance with airport pickup and other information. 
  • If possible, we recommend arriving Monday through Thursday. Most offices in the USA are closed on Saturday and Sunday. 
  • Visa information: If you have visa questions while still in your home country, you may contact the Duke Visa Services by e-mail or phone at (919) 681-8472.

Health Insurance

  • Health care is expensive here and different from other countries. All students are required to have adequate health insurance. 
  • All international Duke graduate and professional students are required to purchase the Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan (SMIP) that is designed for Duke students and complements the services of the Student Health Center. Duke students on F-1 and J-1 visas will be automatically enrolled in this health insurance. For more details on this and other important health related information visit the Student Health Center website.


  • For off-campus apartments, you will need approximately $1,200 for deposits, first month's rent, and to activate utilities (electricity, gas, etc). Check Off-Campus Housing for vacancies. Also sign up for the Intlhouse listserv to look for roommates and available apartments. You can also download a list of Apartment Complexes near campus from the Housing section of our website.


  • Food Services: Duke campus has a variety of places to eat, ranging from cafeterias and fast food to full-service restaurants. For more information please visit the Duke Dining website.
  • Banking: You should open a bank account once you arrive in Durham. Bring your funds either in traveler's checks, or in an official bank check. Do not carry large amounts of cash during your travel. We recommend you get American Express traveler's checks as they are the easiest to cash in the U.S.
  • Shipping:  If you do not have a local address yet, you may want to leave your packages with a friend or family member with instructions to mail them to you once you have a home address.  Or you can ask your department about shipping packages to their office.  International House does not accept packages for students/scholars.
  • Bring a few items that remind you of home (pictures, crafts, clothing, etc.) to share with other students.

Remember: You may have many questions about coming here and even more after arriving. Please contact the staff at International House. We are here to assist you in any way possible.

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