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International Buddy Program

The International Buddy Program (IBP) strives to make incoming international students feel welcome and help them prepare for their transition to college life before they arrive on campus. The program matches new international students ("cubs") with returning international or domestic students ("lions"). The "lions" serve as a resource for four to five incoming international students. "Lions" provide a friendly face and helpful information. They offer that first Columbia friendship, which can make a world of difference for incoming international students who are preparing to join the Columbia University community. 

The origin of this program came from international students who served on the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB). The International Buddy Program continues to be reviewed and aspects of "lion" training are provided by the International Student Advisory Board.  Matches are made with school, major, personal interest areas and time zones in mind. 

Application information for "cubs" and "lions" will be updated in early November 2020. 

Questions? Email

Information for "Cubs"

All Columbia College and Columbia Engineering first-year international students (narrow and broad definition) are eligible to apply to be a "cub."

  • All "cubs" will be matched with a "lion" based on their expressed interest, perspective majors and country/countries of origin
  • "Cubs" will be able to contact their "lions" via email, Facebook chats, Skype, FaceTime and other channels of electronic communication throughout the summer
  • The matched "lions" will be the point people for pre-departure questions and referral for campus resources
  • "Cubs" will meet their matched "lions" in person during the International @ Columbia Open House in September 2021 (subject to change)

Information for "Lions"

  • Commit to be a buddy to new international students from June to September
    • Each "lion" informally mentors four to five first-year international students who signed up to be a "cub"
  • Connect via email, Facebook chats, Skype, FaceTime and other channels of electronic communication
  • Reach out to assigned first-year buddies and share relevant information (e.g. transition/packing/Columbia experience, etc.) electronically over the summer break
  • Attend the International @ Columbia Open House in the Fall 2021 to meet their assigned first-year buddies in person (subject to change)
  • Participate in Friday Lunch Chats throughout September 2021 to provide support to first-year international students

International at Columbia


510 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: 001 (212) 854-0720

Fax: 001 (212) 854-9801

Office Hours
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.