Clubs and Student Organizations for International Students

Clubs such as the International Student Association bring together students from all types of backgrounds. Learn which colleges have organizations for international students and how you can get involved.

Are you a foreign student coming to the United States for college? Or are you a student who wishes to expand your multicultural horizons? Most likely, your school has a number of student organizations that allow people from similar backgrounds to come together to ease the difficult transition that comes with moving to and studying in a foreign country.

International Student Clubs

Depending on the size and diversity of the student body at your school, you may find clubs for all foreign students, clubs for individuals of a specific background, or both. The University of Chicago, for example, has an International Student Association (ISA) that welcomes those from all backgrounds, although it also has groups for specific ethnicities, like the Japanese Student Association.

The ISA hosts a number of social events and gatherings throughout the school year, including an annual I-Formal. The music and food are selected to represent the diverse backgrounds that make up the University of Chicago. Smaller events are also held throughout the year, including a chocolate fondue party.

You may be entitled to specific financial aid opportunities as a foreign student. The University of California, Berkeley school of International Relations has a Hong Kong Undergraduate Scholarship Fund for individuals who are originally from China. In addition to academic requirements, applicants must demonstrate active multicultural involvement in some form.

Depending on the department, you may be entitled to join a club for international students pursuing the same major as you. The Duke University Fuqua School of Business has six different business clubs for MBA students, including Asian, European and Latin American clubs.

You can be American-born and still get involved with these student organizations. Simply contact the club and let them know you are serious about learning more about their ethnic group. In most cases, international students are happy to raise awareness among the American population.

International Alumni

Whether you’re from the United States or another part of the world, if you move to a foreign country after graduation international clubs abroad are a great way to stay connected to your university and make new friends.

The University of Southern California has alumni groups in Asia, Europe and Latin America. Registering with the group entitles you to faculty presentations, career networking events and parties to watch USC football games. Georgetown and Marquette are two other universities offering similar clubs for its alumni.

If you live in a country that doesn’t have any form of international alumni group, contact your university about the feasibility of starting one. In many cases, you might be eligible to receive funding to host events and bring your peers together.

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