Dear International Student!
Welcome to Columbia and the great state of South Carolina! We are so glad that you are here, and we hope that you enjoy your time in the United States.
Coming to another country can be quite overwhelming. That is all normal. Not only are you experiencing a different place, culture, and possibly language, but many of you are also challenged with a whole new learning experience at a college or university. We want to help make this transition a little easier for you.
Many students/visitors have found it very helpful to meet an American family so that they can learn the culture quickly and learn how to navigate the community to get the resources they need to manage their new home and settle into the community. If we were in your country, we would need the same kind of hospitality and support too!
CCFI has a program called Community Friends -- for students, spouses, researchers, faculty and visitors who are temporarily located in the Columbia area - where we introduce you to an American family or individual who would like to share their culture with you and get to know you. These connections will be made in many ways. Community friends may invite you to participate in an individual or group event such as coffee, dinner or cookout (a party or gathering where a meal is cooked and eaten outdoors). They may invite you to a cultural event or local tourist attraction. These connections may be a one-time event or participants may choose to schedule further interactions based on mutual desires and interests. Often, lifelong friendships are developed with these families. For some, it is a nice relationship to have just during the adjustment period when you arrive. Either way, most students and visitors finds this very helpful and an enriching experience.