International Buddy Program

The International Buddy Program (IBP) is a collaboration between the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) and INTO Mason and aims to build cross-cultural relationships between Mason’s international and domestic students while enjoying a variety of campus events and activities together. It is a great way to help international students feel more familiar with the campus and the Mason community, as well as to help American students explore the many different cultures represented among our international student population. This program is built on a foundation of conversation, cultural exchange, and friendship. We hope you can join us!

The application deadline for Fall 2021 is on Friday, September 10, 2021.

Domestic Students apply HERE

International Students apply HERE


Why Participate?

  • Try new things and meet new people!  Explore opportunities and activities beyond your normal “bubble,” and see the world and campus around you from a new perspective.
  • Help international students feel more comfortable and familiar with the campus and culture, and introduce them to new activities or share experiences based on your mutual interests.
  • Help American students learn more about the many different cultures and perspectives represented among our international student population while having fun attending events/getting to know each other.
  • Build connections and networks among international and domestic students outside the classroom for social enjoyment and mutual understanding.


Who Can Participate?

International Students: 18 years old or older; Interested in learning more about American culture and perspectives through social activities; Must speak English well enough to have conversations

Domestic Students: 18 years old or older; Interested in learning about other cultures and perspectives; Interested in helping international students learn about American culture and GMU through social activities

Minimum Requirements:

  1. Attend at least 1 event hosted by OIPS/INTO Mason
  2. Communicate/interact with your buddy AT LEAST 4 times throughout the semester. Examples:
  • Events hosted by Mason offices/departments
  • Activities with a Registered Student Organization (RSO) you belong to
  • Hang out and find common interests and activities you all can enjoy (game nights, movie nights, etc)!

Note: Inviting your buddy along with your other friends is encouraged! You aren’t required to only spend time with your buddy(ies) alone.

3. Respond to required monthly and end-of-semester surveys:

  • We will send out very brief surveys to check in on your experience in the International Buddy Program and connect with you about any issues -- it is important to us that you respond in a timely manner.

Important Notes:

  • It is extremely important that you have enough time to devote to this program. Our biggest complaint from past participants is that a buddy is always too busy to meet or stops responding.
  • The International Buddy Program is not an English tutoring program.  Applicants should be either enrolled in Undergraduate/Graduate programs or in INTO Mason’s Academic English program.
  • The International Buddy Program PROHIBITS the recruiting, soliciting, and religious conversion of any participants, or otherwise exploiting access to the participants of this program. Participants reported to be engaging in these activities will be immediately terminated from the program and referred to the necessary authorities.
  • Although we cannot respond to specific requests for buddy connections, we do our best to connect students based on their interests. Please keep in mind that our ability to connect students is dependent on the number and type of applications received, so you may not be connected immediately.

Questions? Contact Michelle Melo at or Cassie Larson at