International Student Guide program growing in popularity

November 10, 2013

This fall more than 40 newly arrived international students have been matched with continuing CU-Boulder students. 

The continuing students, known as International Student Guides (ISGs), are volunteers who meet and help new international students find resources on campus during the critical first weeks at CU-Boulder.

The ISGs are made up of both U.S. and international students who have training in intercultural communication and resources at CU-Boulder. They know first-hand about the common challenges facing international students, often because they themselves had studied out of the country or are studying abroad now while in the U.S. This fall's ISGs are from countries including India, China, Nigeria and Qatar.

They range from second-semester freshmen to doctoral candidates and are majoring in diverse fields such as physics and French. 

The ISGs themselves arrange activities such as game nights, potlucks, movie nights, field trips to Farmer’s Market, Celestial Seasonings, Georgetown and Red Rocks. The ISG’s also are instrumental in helping new students during Welcome Week, before classes begin.

All CU students are welcome to take part in any of the ISG activities. 

This is the second semester of the ISG Program. Sharefa Al-Mannai was an ISG for fall 2013. When asked why she joined the ISG, she said, “I wanted to share my experience as an international student with other international students. It was a great way to make new friends and to participate in programs at CU-Boulder. It was a resume-builder since I didn’t want to graduate without having done something like this.”

Toyin Oyatogun, a guide in spring and fall 2013, said, “I was an ISG for two semesters and I really loved it! My favorite part was the weekly events we did every weekend. I always looked forward to them because they made my weekends. Even though the program is over (for fall), I am still in touch some of my guidees and we still do fun things together. The International Student Guide Program is amazing. I've made so many international amazing friends through this program and I hope the guidees benefit from it as much as we the guides do. I look forward to seeing this program grow very large.”

Drew Skalski, a guide in spring and fall 2013, commented, "As an international affairs student, ISG has given me the opportunity to meet students at CU-Boulder who are from all over the world. I learned something new at every event I participated in, and more importantly, I made many friends and connections throughout the program. It is such a rewarding feeling to meet someone on their first day at CU-Boulder and watch them learn and grow as they become settled in this new environment."

Yuvin Kokuhennadige was a new student in spring 2013, guided by Drew Skalski, and later joined as an ISG in fall 2013. He indicated that, "Being an ISG helped me be a more diverse person with other cultures."

For more details and/or an application on the ISG program, please contact Becky Sibley at