Services & Support

We are happy to offer our students a variety of on-going services and support to assist with your success while studying at BHSU. We communicate these services to all international students on a weekly basis through the weekly email newsletter, so please read your BHSU emails regularly!

Our Services Include:

Airport Pick-Up and Drop-Off Services (Due to COVID-19, this service is temporarily unavailable)

Each semester, we will offer free pick-up services prior to the start of the semester (Fall and Spring) and a return drop-off service at the end of the semester (Fall and Spring). You are responsible for booking your flights into or out of Rapid City Regional Airport according to our dates if you want to take advantage of this service. To request a pick-up or drop-off, you may email at least one week prior to the drop-off or pick-up date specified below. 

Upcoming Services:

Spring 2020 Drop-off
Friday, May 8, 2020
Saturday, May 9, 2020

Fall 2020 Pick-up
Monday, August 17, 2020
Tuesday, August 18, 2020


Shopping Shuttle (Due to COVID-19, this service is temporarily unavailable)

Recognizing not all students have their own transportation, we offer a twice-monthly shuttle service to the Walmart in Spearfish.

When: Every other Wednesday 6:00pm-7:45pm
Where: Meet at the Library cul-de-sac (circle) by 6:00pm
Details: Shuttle departs by 6:05pm and returns to campus by 8:00pm. Students cannot purchase alcohol or other items that are prohibited on campus.
Departure from Walmart is at 7:45pm at the latest. If you miss the shuttle, you will need to find alternative transportation.
***Note: The shuttle will not be available if there is no school because of a holiday or snow day, or during Finals Week.


Cultural Excursions (Due to COVID-19, this service is temporarily unavailable)

We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the United States, and as such, we believe it’s important for our international students to have the opportunity to explore our region. We are also at the intersection of important histories and cultures. Because of this, we offer an educational-based cultural excursion each semester (Fall and Spring) for our students.

Fall Excursion:

2019 Date: September 27th!

Spring Excursion:

This varies, but may include a day-long visit to Devil’s Tower National Monument – the first US national monument and sacred Native American location, or other surrounding landmarks of historical and cultural significance.
2020 Dates: To be determined. Check back later!


Social Security Administration trips

At the start of each semester (Fall and Spring), we offer students transportation to the Social Security Administration office in Rapid City to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN). We also provide support during the process. If you need to obtain a SSN or have questions about this service, please come in for advising or send an email to


Obtaining a Driver’s License

We can help you prepare your application for a South Dakota driver’s license; however, it is your responsibility to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles office and submit the application, take the test, and obtain the license.

The location of the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Spearfish is:
Hudson Hall
222 West Hudson, Room C
Spearfish, SD 57783
Hours: Wednesdays and Fridays 8:00am – 5:00pm

The Documents You Will Need:

  1. Passport
  2. I-94
  3. I-20 or DS-2019
  4. Social Security Card OR Letter from International Relations and Global Engagement office
  5. Two place of residency documents (utility bills)
  6. International Driver’s License (if applicable)
  7. Driver License Fee


Campus Support Services

For other support services at BHSU, consult these resources:

Get Involved

Getting involved and engaged with the BHSU and Spearfish community is fun and easy! We know students who are involved are more successful both personally and academically. Here are some options to help get you connected:

Connection Families

Through this program, international students can connect to local families and students through a Connection Family. Connection families are your families away from home. Spend time with them visiting local attractions, sharing meals, and other fun activities. 

Sign-up or get more information by emailing us at!

Cultural Ambassadors Programs

This program connects continuing BHSU students with new international students. Student ambassadors help international students become familiar with campus living and culture and become one of your first friends at BHSU. Spend time with your new friends on campus or off sharing laughs, meals, or just time together.

If you want to sign-up to be an ambassador, email us!

International Student Organization

The ISO is the official BHSU student club representing the interests of our diverse student body, including international students. The organization is run primarily by international students and comprises students of all backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, and interests. ISO organizes various activities throughout the year that highlight cultural diversity and appreciation, global perspectives on critical issues, and other activities coordinated with other campus organizations.

ISO meets regularly in the International Relations and Global Engagement office, in Woodburn Hall, room 115.

Check out these other opportunites to get involved:

Student Clubs and Organizations
Intramural Sports

Get Advice

We are here to serve and support you - - our international students - - on personal and academic matters. It is our goal to make sure you can come to us for any assistance you need. See below for our advising hours, and if these times do not work for you, email to schedule an appointment.

Drop-In Advising Hours:

Tuesdays: 3:00PM – 5:00PM
Fridays: 10:00AM – 12:00PM

Schedule an Appointment:

Mondays: 10:00AM - 12:00PM
Wednesdays: 8:00AM – 12:00PM
Thursdays: 4:00PM - 6:00PM

Remember to inform us  if you:

  • Move or change your physical address in the US
  • Change to a new major or academic program
  • Change your name
  • Will graduate earlier or later than the end date on your I-20
  • Have a change to your finances beyond your control (a.k.a. are experiencing financial exigency)
  • Are traveling outside of the US (you need an updated travel signature every 6 months!

If you have need for health care or counseling services, you should contact the BHSU Student Health Services Center.

If you are in immediate danger, or have an emergency and need immediate assistance, contact Spearfish police by dialing 911 or BHSU Public Safety immediately by dialing +1 605-641-6988.

Health Insurance

South Dakota State law requires all F-1 and J-1 visa holders to possess an approved health insurance policy. In order to comply with state and federal laws governing J-1 visas, you must enroll in and purchase the State of South Dakota Board of Regents health insurance policy for international students each year. You can learn more about the insurance requirements by going to the student health website. 

If you are an athlete, there is a different insurance plan for you that meets both international and athletic requirements. Please work with the athletics department directly to enroll in this plan. If you have a different plan that meets the requirements, you can submit a waiver request before the first day of classes. See Insurance Waiver Info below.

There is an auto enrollment policy effective at Black Hills State University. This means that you will have until the Add/Drop date to enroll in the GeoBlue – Basic. If you do not sign up for a plan by the Add/Drop date, you will be automatically enrolled by the university in the GeoBlue – Enhanced and that charge will be applied to their university bill.  You will then have to pay the higher rate for that semester and then you can change to the GeoBlue – Basic the following semester if you so choose. 

The Office of International Relations will email all new and continuing international students prior to the start of each semester to provide enrollment information. You must check your email regularly, and you are responsible for ensuring you are enrolled into the insurance plan by the deadline. 

FALL 2020 ENROLLMENT DEADLINE: August 28, 2020


Under limited circumstances, the South Dakota Board of Regents may waive this requirement if a student provides adequate proof of coverage. The Health Insurance Waiver Request Form is available on the student health insurance website. You will need to make sure that the South Dakota Board of Regents requirements are being met if you would like to request a waiver. This form will need to be completed and returned by the first day of classes each semester to the Office of International Relations and Global Engagement. Approval for these waivers is not guaranteed. If approval is not granted, you will need to purchase insurance through GeoBlue. The Office of International Relations and Global Engagement will notify students via email about the waiver decision within 48 hours after it is received. 

If you will be returning to your home country for the summer, you may receive a refund for the months you are home upon proof of a flight itinerary. You should submit the request, along with the flight itinerary, by emailing at least one week (5 business days) prior to your scheduled departure. 

Internships & Employment

On-Campus Employment

As an F-1 international student, you may work up to 20 hours per week on campus. During the summer and winter breaks, you may work up to 40 hours per week on campus. On-campus employment opportunities are plentiful, and many students do undertake employment while they study. To locate an on-campus job, please ask your advisor or read the Campus E-Update emails.

Once you have received a job offer for on-campus employment, the International Relations and Global Engagement office will write a letter for you to obtain your Social Security Number. For more information about working on-campus schedule an advising appointment or email

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

After completing one-year of study (two semesters) at BHSU, you may be eligible to undertake an on or off-campus internship or employment opportunity under the CPT benefit for F-1 international students. You must receive approval from the DSO in the International Relations and Global Engagement office BEFORE beginning to work under CPT.

If you are interested in CPT, please schedule an advising appointment with us by emailing You may also complete the CPT Request Form and submit it to our office for review.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 international students have the benefit of work authorization upon completing their studies. This is called Optional Practical Training, or OPT. OPT is something for which you as the F-1 student must request through the International Relations and Global Engagement office, and then apply for to US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). The approval time for OPT is approximately 90 days, and once approval is received, you may undertake employment anywhere in the United States for up to 12 months in a job that relates to your academic field of study. Certain fields of study, called STEM fields, may qualify for up to an additional 24 months of work authorization, for a total of 36 months.

If you plan to take advantage of this benefit, you should learn about the process to obtain OPT at least one year prior to your expected graduation. Our office offers OPT workshops and advising to help you prepare your OPT application, but you can also use these resources to inform yourself about the process:



Below, we provide you the important request forms and letter templates you need as part of maintaining your status and helping us support you. Please download, fill out and return completed forms or templates to the International Relations office by emailing them to or bringing hard copies to the office  in Woodburn 115. 

Request Forms:
Authorized Early Withdrawal 
Concurrent Enrollment Agreement

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Declaration of Final Term
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Program Extension

Reduced Course Load (RCL)
SEVIS Record Update (use to change your name, major, or physical address)

Letter templates:

Letter request: Social Security Number
Letter request: Driver’s License
Letter request: Visitor invitation