Innovative International Student Support Programming

Innovations in Connecting International & Domestic Students

Institution Program Details
American University

Language Exchange Program

  • Are you interested in practicing foreign languages (English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, and others)? Please join the Language Exchange Program. We match students who wish to practice and improve foreign language skills. Open to international and US students.
  • The Language Exchange Program was developed to bridge the gap between domestic and international students by identifying a mutual interest, that is gaining cultural competency through language learning from native speakers.
Barnard College

Visiting International Student Ambassador (VISA) Program

  • The Visiting International Student Ambassador (VISA) Program matches degree-seeking Barnard students with visiting international students. The Ambassador program facilitates intercultural friendships while helping integrate international students. It can also provide international experiences to degree-seeking students who can't or choose not to study abroad.

Visiting International Student Program (VISP)

  • As part of Barnard College's broad initiative to internationalize its campus, the College has created the Visiting International Students Program (VISP) for spring semesters in residence at the campus in New York City. Through a limited number of collaborative relationships with international universities, the partners send cohorts of 3-12 undergraduate students to Barnard to spend the spring semester as full-time visiting students. VISP students are fully integrated into the Barnard College academic and co-curricular community, gaining a broad understanding of how liberal arts institutions in the United States function, exploring the American model of undergraduate education, and studying and researching with Barnard and Columbia University's world-class faculty, while also contributing to the internationalization of the student body.
Kennesaw State University

Global Gateways: A Learning Community for International Students

  • Homesick? A little bit anxious? At a loss for words? Global Gateways is here to help by offering first-year courses and fun co-curricular activities designed just for international students. Join a learning community where you will make friends while developing the skills necessary for a successful transition into college life at KSU.
  • The international students will take required general education courses together, and also participate together in a variety of planned activities such as trips to museum and historical sites in Atlanta, get–togethers for coffee and conversation, and participate in the Conversation Partners Program, which matches international students with native English-speaking students, faculty, and staff in a mutual exchange of cultures and friendship.
  • The learning community will help first-year international students to conquer the many challenges of the first semester or two of American university life.
Macalester College


  • The Ametrica Project brings domestic and international first year students together to promote the development of greater intercultural sensitivity through dialogue and a series of ephemeral escapades.
University of California at Los Angeles


  • The Global Siblings program pairs one international student with one domestic student for the academic year. International students vary widely in their experiences abroad. Some students may have extensive experiences working, traveling and studying in the United States, while for others, this may be their first experience outside of their country. As a result, domestic siblings are asked to help facilitate their international sibling's transition and experience at UCLA according to his/her needs. On the other hand, it is not just a one way relationship. Domestic students gain the benefits of learning about a new culture and different perspectives. In addition, to creating friendships with students from all over the world!
University of California at Irvine

Across The Bridge

  • International and domestic students engage in open conversations about diversity in America, as well as discuss personal identities that include cultural backgrounds and experiences.

UCI Communication Club

  • The Communication Club is a language and cultural experience program, partnering domestic and international students together to enhance the globalization of the college community.
University of Denver

Pioneer to Pioneer Partnership Program

  • The Pioneer to Pioneer Partnership Program (P2P) is a student-led organization that aims to bridge the gap between international and domestic students. Participants are matched in one-on-one partnerships at the start of each quarter and meet throughout either on their own time or by attending monthly events planned by the committee.
University of Georgia

Global Friends Peer Mentor Program

  • Global Friends is a peer mentor program that was created by International Student Life as a way to provide opportunities for international and U.S. students to connect with each other. Sponsored in part by the UGA Parent's and Families Association, Global Friends matches current UGA students with new or transfer international students each semester. During the academic year ISL organizes at least one event per month including cultural / educational opportunities such as visiting the Carter Center in Atlanta, carving pumpkins, celebrating Thanksgiving, or attending UGA athletic events together. Through this program participants are able to create life-long global friendships while learning more about the various cultures and societies they represent.
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign


  • INTERLINK is a mentoring program, where international students have the opportunity to be paired with a University of Illinois student, faculty, or staff member who can provide support in adjusting to American culture. Mentors and mentees are expected to have regular contact with each other
University of Kansas

Global Partners

  • Global Partners is an exciting way to meet people from all over the world and make life-long friends at the University of Kansas. International and domestic students are matched and placed into semester-long groups of four, giving students an opportunity to get to know other cultures on a person level. The groups are formed based on members' interests, academic majors, and languages.
University of Oklahoma

OU Cousins

  • Through OU Cousins, students are matched according to hobbies, majors, and countries of special interest. Each international or exchange student is matched with one or two American students and invited to participate in monthly programs that are free of charge. In addition, students are encouraged to get together outside of official Cousins events and share their respective cultures with one another through normal daily life.

International Student Speakers Bureau (ISSB)

  • The International Student Speakers Bureau (ISSB) is a program through which international students volunteer to speak and share about their home countries. The goal of the program is to promote global awareness among local schools and area community groups. Many people only know about other countries through newspapers or news programs, and those views do not always represent the larger issues or the common viewpoint. The ISSB gives ordinary citizens, like the students, a voice by allowing them an opportunity to express how they feel about history, current events, international affairs, cultural norms and values, and even literature and art. This program also personalizes information for the Oklahomans who are listening. They learn that even though someone may observe different religious practices or speak a different language, they can still have many of the same interests and concerns. Whatever the similarities or differences, the International Student Speakers Bureau brings international students and Oklahomans together to explore each other's culture.
  • SSB currently has speakers from: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, France, India, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Turkey, Uganda, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
University of San Diego

International Buddy Program

  • The International Buddy Program originated in the International Center as a student mentor program designed to help international students who are attending the University of San Diego ease into student life and to keep USD students connected with their international experience. This program is committed to pairing international students with an experienced and committed USD student who can help them adjust to living in a new city, and to meet, mix with, and learn from other USD students. The goal of the International Buddy Program is to enrich the international student's experience abroad and to create a truly global community.
University of Texas at Austin

Student Crosstalk

  • Student Crosstalk facilitates televised dialogues between students at The University of Texas at Austin and students at Kabul University. The goal of this new initiative is to dispel cultural stereotypes and break down communication barriers caused by lack of understanding.
  • The International Office is partnering with Voice of America to create a space for student leaders from the university and Kabul University to have conversations on various topics. Videoconferences will bring together students who typically only learn about each other's cultures through popular news media.
University of Wisconsin at Madison


  • The BRIDGE international friendship program aims to build global competencies by providing opportunities and safe forums for new international undergraduate students to engage with U.S. students and educate each other about their cultures and countries, life experiences and perspectives. New international students are paired up with U.S. students to participate in one-on-one and group activities throughout the semester.
  • Upon arrival in the U.S., international students may be confronted with culture shock, language barriers, isolation, and other obstacles. By pairing international students with U.S. partners, the BRIDGE program aims to ease the transition of international students to college life at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and create a friendship in the process.
  • In addition, BRIDGE also works as an intercultural exchange program, helping to educate U.S. students about other countries and global opportunities in a fun environment. U.S. students can learn about cultural diversity and intercultural communication in an open, friendly atmosphere.
Washington State University

Global Case Competition

  • The Global Case Competition at WSU began in spring 2011, bringing graduate and undergraduate (domestic and international) students from all WSU campuses to form multi-disciplinary teams to develop solutions to issues currently impacting a global community.
  • Teams of 4 to 6 students work together under a strict timeline to develop a strategic solution to the selected case. Teams present their strategies to a group of judges who will then decide the winners.

We would appreciate your feedback. We would like to hear from you about any programs you've developed to help support the orientation and integration of international students on your campus as well as others you've seen as positive models at other institutions! Please provide that information to us at