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International Student Services

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Buddies Beyond Borders

Whether you are international or American, Buddies Beyond Borders provides you the opportunity for cultural connection and friendship. American participants say that their experience as a buddy is enriching and broadens their perspectives about the world. International students paired with a domestic buddy not only adjust to American life more readily, but they also get to experience American culture and community first-hand.

About the Program

Buddies Beyond Borders was developed by the International Student Services Office at the University of South Carolina to assist with the social transition of international students. American life as it is depicted on television, in newspapers, and experienced in residence halls is frequently a distorted picture. A recent study revealed that 40% of international students are dissatisfied with their amount of friendship and connection in US higher education. We have the opportunity to help change this percentage.

Buddies Beyond Borders provides both international students and American students/staff at the University of South Carolina an opportunity for connection and friendship. Each pairing provides the enriching experience of a cultural exchange and give participants a broadened perspective about the world. 

Being a Domestic Buddy

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

  • Current American USC students who have been enrolled for at least 1 semester
  • Current international students who have been enrolled at USC for at least 2 semesters
  • Current USC Faculty or Staff

All Domestic Buddies are required to complete a Carolina Intercultural Training session prior to being matched with their International Buddy. Carolina Intercultural Training sessions are held several times throughout the semester. The training is not optional.

Returning Domestic Buddies who have participated in the program previously and have already attended a Carolina Intercultural Training do not need to attend an additional training session.

Buddies Beyond Borders is meant to provide an opportunity to promote friendship and meaningful intercultural exchange at USC. 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.

During the Covid-10 pandemic, Buddies are not required to physically meet with their Buddies. You may do so at your own risk, and please wear a mask and follow recommended CDC guidelines. We just ask that you make the effort to contact and befriend your Buddy, whether in person, over emails, phone, or virtual platform.

As the Domestic Buddy, we recommend that you share information with your International Buddy about the culture and customs at USC. Share your knowledge with them! 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 USC. Get to know them and let them get to know you.

While you are strongly encouraged to regularly spend time with your International Buddy, please remember that this program is designed for friendship and intercultural exchange. Though friendship cannot be guaranteed, if you meet with your International Buddy regularly, you will have many opportunities to learn about their culture through their eyes and also share your own cultural experiences with them.

Interested in being a Domestic Buddy? Apply now!

Remember, you must complete a Carolina Intercultural Training prior to being matched with your International Buddy. If you have already attended a Carolina Intercultural Training, you do not need to attend a training again.

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

Due to high demand, we may not be able to match you with an International Buddy. We will notify you if this is the case.

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 with whom you can also have meaningful cultural interactions.

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.


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