If you're an international student looking to attend a university in America, then by all means your number one companion during your stay will be the staff of the International Students office of that university. These are people who know the workings of studying abroad inside and out, and who will be able to answer and address any concerns that you may have during your stay. However, there are a number of things that you will want to check pertaining to the office of International Students itself to ensure yourself a safe and comfortable stay in America.
First, it's a fantastic idea to make sure that those working in these departments have a thorough understanding and level of experience dealing with things like different cultures, countries, and languages. It's best to find a staff that has members who have lived and studied abroad themselves, and (of course) staff members who are fluent in other languages. Without these qualifications, you may find it particularly hard to relate to them and them to you.
Naturally, you'll also want to be positive that these are people who you can feel comfortable around, and who you will feel are people that you do not mind asking questions. Make sure that you're dealing with a very friendly and service oriented staff. If an International Student Service staff makes you feel like they are not interested in or do not enjoy answering your questions, then it's likely that you'll have a harder time than necessary at that university. Make sure that the staff at these departments gives you the feeling that they really want to help you – this will make it more likely that you'll be comfortable working with them before and during your stay in America.
Finally, it is not only a great idea, but an imperative one, to make sure that the department is working with or affiliated with NAFSA, or the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors. This means the staff have a comprehensive knowledge of immigration policies, and that they are going to be sure that everything possible is done to make sure your stay in America is not cut short due to improperly filled out or or undone paperwork. Without an affiliation with NAFSA, it's possible the staff will not be fully aware of everything that has to be completed for an international student to study in America – meaning you may face difficult getting into or staying in America.