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International Student and Scholar Support

Domestic Buddies

About the Program

For new international students, preparing for life in the United States can be difficult. Adjusting to life once they arrive in Columbia and starting classes can be equally challenging. Many international students find that their expectations of America are much different than the reality of living in Columbia, South Carolina. Buddies Beyond Borders is a program designed to help with this adjustment process by pairing newly admitted international students with current students at UofSC. That new student’s Buddy could be YOU!

ISS is looking for current students (both domestic and international) who are willing and interested in being a resource for these new students and answering any questions that they might have about the campus or life in Columbia. This could be questions about the best places to get groceries and furniture, or maybe about certain cultural differences between the United States and their home country.

If your international Buddy is interested, you can also meet up and be a welcoming face on campus as they are getting settled in. Many of our students who participate in this program form friendships with their Buddies. 

In addition to your match, International Student Services will host events throughout each semester so that you can meet other participants in the program, both domestic and international. Students are encouraged to attend these events and make connections and friendships through the wider Buddies community.


Being a Domestic Buddy

If you are a current student, staff, or faculty member at UofSC who has been here for at least 1 year, you will qualify to be a Domestic Buddy. Current international students who have attended UofSC for at least 1 year may also apply to be a Domestic Buddy.

  • Current UofSC students who have been enrolled for at least 1 year
  • Current international students who have been enrolled at UofSC for at least 2 semesters
  • Current UofSC Faculty or Staff

For the 2021-2022 academic year, Domestic Buddies are NO LONGER REQUIRED to attend a Carolina Intercultural Training session prior to being matched with their International Buddy. You are still encouraged to attend a training, as it is good information if you are interested in cross-cultural communication; additionally, the training can be applied to GLD requirements.  Carolina Intercultural Training sessions are held several times throughout the semester. 

Buddies Beyond Borders is meant to provide an opportunity to promote friendship and meaningful intercultural exchange at UofSC. Any inappropriate or disrespectful behavior will not be tolerated from either the Domestic Buddy or the International Buddy. If any inappropriate or disrespectful behavior is reported, the buddy at fault will no longer be permitted to participate in the program.

Participants in the Buddies program are expected to communicate with one another. New international students are expected to ask questions and reach out to their Buddy as needed; Domestic Buddies are expected to be responsive to questions and to help the new student feel at home.

As a Domestic Buddy, we recommend that you share information with your International Buddy about the culture and customs at UofSC. Show them the best lunch spots on campus or your favorite local store. Ask them about their home country and how life is different for them here at UofSC. Get to know them and let them get to know you.

The Buddies program will look different for different people depending on their interest and needs. Some Buddies will meet in person, others matches will simply email or text. Some will just need a few questions answered from a friendly and knowledgeable resource. Others will meet with their Buddy match face-to-face. Though friendship cannot be guaranteed, we hope that you do form a supportive relationship with your Buddy.

Interested in being a Domestic Buddy? Apply now!

Contact Chris Reid if you have any questions about the program.

Matching is based upon availability, personal interests, age, and gender. We will do our best to make sure you are paired with a buddy who has some common interests with you, but we cannot guarantee perfect matches. We CAN promise that you will be matched with someone who will be very appreciative of your help and support!

Cultural differences between you and your buddy are inevitable. Remember to treat these differences with respect. If these kinds of differences are leading to negative interactions with your buddy and you are uncomfortable continuing in the program, please contact Chris Reid to discuss other options.


International Students Who Want to be Paired with a Domestic Buddy:

See this section of our website!

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