Innovative International Student Support Programming

Innovations in Orientation Programming

Institution Program Details
Arcadia University

International Peer Associates League

  • International Peer Associates League members (I-PALs) are trained students who help incoming international students adjust to college life at Arcadia University. I-PALs play a key role in helping the Office of International Affairs throughout the year in providing support services to students including but not limited to:
    • Orientation
    • Peer Mentorship
    • Social and Cultural Programming
Brown University

International Mentoring Program

  • International Orientation offers incoming undergraduate international students the opportunity to engage with their peers several days prior to the general first-year orientation. During International Orientation, students explore academic conventions at Brown, discuss topics surrounding student life beyond the classroom, familiarize themselves with campus resources, and participate in social events to get to know their fellow classmates.
  • Throughout International Orientation, students engage with peer mentors from the International Mentoring Program who continue to offer peer advising and programming throughout the academic year. While International Orientation is primarily for students, there are a limited number of sessions open to family members too.
  • IMP engages incoming undergraduates who identify as international, regardless of their legal status or place of residence, in the academic, co-curricular, and social opportunities and challenges of coming to Brown and the U.S.
California State Polytechnic University at Pomona

Success 101

  • Success 101 program has been very popular with entering international students and focuses on an introduction to campus resources, strategies for success and assistance with maintaining your visa status. International students will also be introduced to the many services and opportunities provided by the International Center. This program is offered at the beginning of your first academic term.
Colorado State University

INTO Colorado State University

  • Colorado State is one of six U.S. universities partnering with INTO, a for-profit British company that forms partnerships with universities in the United States, United Kingdom, and China to recruit students and place them in intensive English and "academic pathways" classes with extensive support that lead to regular undergraduate and graduate studies.
Cornell University

PREPARE Program for Incoming International Students

  • Incoming undergraduate international students are encouraged to arrive four days BEFORE new student orientation. This program provides travel-weary students with an early start. During these four days, participants will not only obtain resources to meet the challenges of adjusting to college life in the U.S., they will also have the opportunity to make new friends with students from all over the world.
Duke University

Summer Transition Series

  • The Summer Transition Series is designed to assist new incoming international graduate students prepare their move to Duke and Durham. In addition to viewing the 4 pre-recorded informational videos, you are invited to participate in the Online Interactive Orientation. You will have the opportunity to meet representatives from International House, the Office of New Student Programs, Student Health, Visa Services, and Housing, Dining and Residential Life.
Georgetown University

International Pre-Orientation (IPO)

  • International Pre-Orientation Program (IPO) program provides a three-day introduction to Georgetown for all new undergraduate students entering Georgetown in F-1 or J-1 visa status. Faculty members, administrators, and current students provide a comprehensive introduction to life at Georgetown. IPO provides a thorough introduction to the U.S. academic system, U.S. immigration regulations, general university services, and the culture of the United States.

International Graduate Orientation (IGO)

  • International Graduate Orientation (IGO) program provides a two-day program of information sessions and social events for new graduate students entering the university in F-1 or J-1 status. Information sessions focus on academic life, immigration regulations, health care, employment, and much more. IGO provides new graduate students in F-1 or J-1 status with an opportunity to meet faculty, staff, and fellow students in their first days at Georgetown.
Harvard University

Freshman International Program (FIP)

  • FIP is sponsored by the Harvard Freshman Dean's Office (FDO), the Harvard International Office (HIO) and the Woodbridge Society of International Students. It is an orientation program for incoming international students who have either not attended school in the United States or have done so for a short period of time, and for U.S. citizens who have spent most of their lives abroad. FIP immediately precedes the College's orientation program for all new freshmen, and will introduce international students to American culture and some aspects of higher education in the United States, particularly at Harvard. Harvard administrators, faculty, and upper class international students will serve as resources for these orientation sessions.
Indiana University–Bloomington

IU2U Pre–Orientation Program

  • The program, IU2U, fosters student success by offering international students the opportunity to prepare for the academics, culture and engagement opportunities they will find at IU Bloomington. IU will hold two one-day sessions in Beijing on July 10 and 12, with workshops for both students and parents.
  • While students attend workshops on IU and student culture, academic and personal goals, and curricular planning and course selection, their parents are invited to attend workshops on helping from home and education in the United States. IU staff and current undergraduate students will lead sessions.
Macalester College

Sarcasm 101 and Bus Tokens

  • Sarcasm 101 is an introduction to campus and U.S. life. It includes clips from Saturday Night Live skit as well as other break-the-ice discussions and activities. It helps international and returning domestic students prepare for the pitfalls they can expect as they transition to college.
  • Also, the international office sends U.S. and international students into Minneapolis and St. Paul with a bus token and instructions not to come back until they have found and interviewed several people with distinct characteristics, from eyeglasses to tattoos.
Middlebury College

Early Arrival

  • Early Arrival is Middlebury College's pre-orientation program for international students, including exchange and U.S. study abroad students. As a participant in Early Arrival, international students are afforded additional time to recover from their travels around the world, learn about their respective U.S. visa statuses, and become familiar with concepts and resources that will help them with their transition from home to the U.S.
Northern Carolina University

Global Training Initiative (GTI)

  • The GTI provides short-term study and internship opportunities for international students who have completed at least two years of college or university and scholars. Two full-time, certificate programs are also available to international students who wish to study at NC State.
    • An academic option: U.S. Culture and Higher Education that focuses on coursework in a given field of study. Students may take additional courses in most fields of study at NC State (there are 110 fields offered);
    • An internship/research option: U.S. Culture and Cooperative Education that focuses on half-time coursework and research or an internship. Participants are allowed the same access to their field of study as academic option students, but take fewer classes and do either a paid or unpaid internship with a North Carolina business or research with an NC State faculty.
Northwestern University

Off-Campus Orientation Sessions

  • Representatives from Northwestern University's International Office (IO) travel to various locations throughout the world each year to meet with newly admitted international students. This year, representatives will be in South Korea, China, and India to host newly admitted international students for a pre–departure orientation. Two events will be held in each city––one for admitted undergraduates and their parents, and a second for admitted graduate students (at all academic levels from all programs).
  • At each orientation, representatives from The International Office (IO) will provide you with an overview of Northwestern University and the IO, Evanston & Chicago, and provide additional information on various topics as you prepare to leave home and head to campus. Topics covered may include: what to pack, getting to campus from the airport, course registration and tuition payments, on–campus orientations, health services and health insurance, adjusting to US academic culture, and much more.
Ohio State University

Pre-Departure Orientation

  • The Ohio State University offers a Pre-Departure Orientation for new Chinese students who have been accepted and have paid their acceptance fee. The Pre-Departure Orientation offers an opportunity for future students, and their families, to learn more about college life, meet other Ohio State students and university staff and learn important information before traveling to the United States.
  • The Pre-Departure Orientation is a two-day program offered in Beijing and Shanghai. Students can choose one of the four sessions available, and each student can register themselves and two guests. Attending the orientation with family is a great way to build a foundation for success at Ohio State.
Purdue University

Global Partners Orientation

  • During the past two summers, staff, administrators, academic advisors, and faculty members have delivered pre-departure orientation programs in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. New students and their parents had the opportunity to ask questions, seek advice, and connect with others in order to coordinate their travel plans to West Lafayette.
  • These pre-departure orientation programs are part of the Global Partners Program (GPP) designed with three goals in mind:
    • Conduct a pre-departure orientation program for new students and their parents in China
    • Provide a cultural emersion program for selected academic advisors, faculty and staff, who have significant interaction with our international students but have never traveled to Asia.
    • Visit current domestic (study aboard program) Purdue students in China
  • Approximately 1,200 new international students and their parents have participated in these pre–departure orientation programs. The highlight for the student participants is the Q & A time with existing Purdue student volunteers and alumni from China.
University of California at Davis Summer Start:

Summer Start Program

  • Intensive six-week academic, language, and orientation program while paying affordable summer fee rates, earning 6 – 8 units towards graduation requirements.

Global Ambassadors Mentorship Program

  • The Global Ambassadors are students who are interested in expanding their cultural experience while helping the integration of the international community. They work with SISS to help international students adjust to life at UC Davis.
University of California at Los Angeles: Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars


  • iSTART@UCLA is a program that helps international students transition to their new life at UCLA and in the U.S. Required components of iSTART are the Visa Check-In and the DCISS Online Pre-Arrival Orientation which include the following modules: Getting Started in L.A., Cultural Adjustment, F-1 Visa Workshop, Academic Integrity Workshop, Legal Information for International Students, and DCISS programs.
  • The Pre-Arrival Online Orientation is mandatory for all new international students at UCLA. They are required to complete a Pre-Arrival Online Orientation which includes the following modules:
    • Getting Started in Los Angeles includes information on Transportation in Los Angeles, Housing and Furniture, Bank Accounts, Cell Phones, How to get a Driver's License or California ID card, etc.
    • Getting Started at UCLA includes information on UCLA BruinCard, UCLA Health Insurance, Legal Issues for International Students, Getting Involved on Campus, etc.
    • Cultural Adjustment Workshop includes information about cultural adjustment, how it can affect international students and how to adjust more easily to their new life in L.A.
    • F-1 Visa Workshop includes information about how to stay in compliance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, how to maintain legal status, understanding legal visa documents, travelling abroad while at UCLA, and employment options.
    • Academic Integrity Workshop includes information about what IS and IS NOT allowed in the American classroom setting. This session is conducted by the Dean of Students Office and it covers all aspects of Academic Integrity including cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, multiple submissions and facilitating academic misconduct.
University of California at San Diego

International Triton Transition Program

  • International Triton Transition Program: Prior to the start of their first quarter as a freshman, UCSD offers a 4 week summer program that includes a university-level English writing class specifically designed to help students gain the critical and analytical writing skills needed to succeed in courses during their first year, along with learning about teacher/student relations and communication in the U.S. college classroom, supporting academic and social and cultural learning prior to the beginning of the fall term.
University of California at Santa Cruz

Summer Start

  • Start early and stay strong with 7 weeks this summer. 3 classes are custom designed for you – 10 units toward your degree before fall starts. Make great friends, learn the campus, get a feel for our academic culture and expectations, connect with faculty and staff. The Summer Start Program is for first–year international freshmen, to help you prepare for the ELWR (Entry–Level Writing Requirement) which all students are required to pass freshmen year. Summer Start is the perfect opportunity to help you ensure success so you can get your degree underway!
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Orientation Videos: Your Journey to the University of Illinois

  • A three-part video series to aid international students in adjusting to life at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

Transitions to Illinois

  • Transitions to Illinois will prepare you with English skills, campus knowledge, and social experiences to support your freshman-year start. This six-week program includes:
    • 25 hours per week of English instruction
    • Superior English language teachers and trained professional staff
    • Orientation to campus life and culture
    • Social and cultural activities on evenings and weekends
    • Early registration for fall classes
    • Campus residence halls and meals

Pre–Departure Orientation in China

University of Minnesota–Twin Cities

iSuccess: The International Student Success Program

  • The International Student Success Program is a customized pre-orientation program that will give you an early start to your new life at the University of Minnesota. This program has been designed to meet your needs as a new international student! By becoming a Minnesota Gopher ahead of time, you will get to explore the sights, sounds, history, entertainment and culture of the Twin Cities with current University of Minnesota students, staff and faculty as your guides. You will learn strategies for bridging cultural challenges and how to succeed at the University. iSuccess also provides an interactive, simulated U.S. higher education style classroom consisting of academic workshops, sessions, activities and exploration that gives you the skills and experiences you need to prepare for the school year.
  • iSuccess not only prepares you for the upcoming semester at the University of Minnesota. iSuccess focuses on your needs before you depart your home country. This includes a personalized pre-departure online session with you and your family (select languages besides English available).
  • You will be assigned a current student mentor throughout the program. This will give you a chance to get to know another experienced student very well and for them to help guide you throughout the week's experiences. You will also be paired with a semester long mentor. This program also allows you an opportunity to become next year's student mentors!

Pre–Departure Orientation in China

  • The University of Minnesota Beijing Office held its inaugural Pre-departure Orientation and Reception for incoming Chinese freshmen on July 31, 2010. Two sessions were conducted, and by all accounts the orientations were a smashing success. Enthusiastic students arrived at the Beijing Office, many arm-in-arm with their anxious parents who brought lists of questions to ask. All left with smiles, new friends, and a broader knowledge about life at the University.
  • Each orientation session was centered around a presentation delivered by Beijing Office Coordinator Wanling Qu, aiming to address the core differences between Chinese and American higher education, classroom culture, essential registration features, and the needs and issues on the minds of both the incoming students and their parents.
University of South Florida

INTO University of South Florida

  • Since 2006, INTO has helped thousands of international students succeed in higher education. INTO provides a variety of academic Pathway and English language courses to help international students adapt to the educational, social and cultural norms and progress on to undergraduate and graduate programs at leading universities in North America, the United Kingdom and China.
  • The INTO USF Center opened in 2010 and is the tenth partnership developed by INTO, which offers a variety of programs:
    • One-Year Undergraduate Pathway
    • One-Year Graduate Pathway
    • Academic English
    • General English
    • Special Short-Term Programs - includes summer and/or youth programs
  • Living and learning in the heart of the University of South Florida campus, students will develop friendships with American and international students and have access to all of the academic, social and cultural resources and activities at USF. Highly-qualified university instructors, facilities equipped with the latest technology, small classes, personalized support services, social activities, and a welcoming university community all contribute to the rich campus experience students will have at INTO USF.
University of Southern California Orientations Outside of the U.S.

Off-Campus Orientation Sessions

  • Off-Campus Orientation sessions offer incoming first-year students living in China or surrounding areas an opportunity to experience USC and receive advanced academic advisement and course registration. This program will serve as an introduction to life at USC and in Los Angeles and will include information sessions on the USC academic experience, adjusting to life in Los Angeles, and a review of campus resources and services. Students and family members will have an opportunity to meet with current USC faculty, staff, and students.
  • Currently, there are international student orientation programs available in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
Valparaiso University

FOCUS – New–Student Orientation

  • FOCUS New-Student Orientation assists new Crusaders in their transition to life at Valpo. FOCUS is required of all new students and is strongly recommended for parents/guardians of new first-year students.
  • New Crusaders: Meet new classmates, take placement exams, register for classes, learn about the Valpo campus, and more.
  • Parents: Interact with other parents, faculty, staff, and current students. You will get tips and strategies for providing support for your Crusader in this new environment and become better acquainted with campus and its many resources.
Washington State University

iCoug℠ Tutorial

  • All international students are required to complete the "iCoug℠ Tutorial" (online pre-arrival information and assessments) prior to arriving on campus.
  • The multimedia iCoug℠ Tutorial uses videos, PowerPoint, avatars and other interactive tools to prepare international students for the WSU experience and to inform them of resources available to ensure success. The program provides information about visas/immigration, academic expectations, cultural adjustment, getting connected and more.

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