I remember traveling to my home country, India, first time as student on F1 visa after a year and half since I landed in US. It is very important to plan well and do the required procedures at school for you to come back or enter US without any issues. It is not very complex, but here are few things to do.
Appointment with International advisor or DSO and get new I20
You should get an appointment with your designated school officer(DSO), who is typically International advisor, and tell them that you are going to your home country for vacation during break. You will tell them why you are going home and when you will come back approximately. Sometimes, students take a semester break for a variety of reasons could be health issues or family emergency, etc. You should make sure you get the following from the advisor
- New I20. It typically looks the same, but there will not be any stamp. Your new I20 will be stamped at port of entry when you re-enter US after break.
- Letter indicating that you are enrolled full time and going to your home country for break. This letter is just a proof. Think of it like an employment letter stating that you are currently employed. The advisers know this stuff.
International students office(ISO):
You may not have to do this at all schools. But, if you need a ride back from airport and your ISO office does this, you would have to inform international students office and tell them about your trip for pick up from airport.
Apply for Teaching Assistantships
If you intend to apply for TA position, you would have to fill in the application before you leave. The deadlines are typically around registration. This is just to make sure you do not miss the deadline for TA application.
Register for Classes for next semester :
Registration for classes for next semester is key thing to do. You never know if you will have time at your home to do all this stuff. You better pick the classes and register before you leave for vacation.
Did I miss anything or do you have anything to add ?