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International Student & Scholar Programs

Getting Involved in the CU Boulder Community

International Student and Scholar Programs (ISSP) organizes and supports programming and special events for international students, scholars, and their families.  The University of Colorado Boulder also has many student clubs that include varying interests.

For more and updated information about programs and events, check out the Calendar or ISSP Facebook page.

There are numerous clubs to join and activities for international students. Some clubs are based on nationality or culture; others a mix of students from all over the world. For a more complete list of CU student Clubs and Organizations, please see the CU Student Group Directory. Current members will be happy to share information about their group, so feel free to contact them directly. Of special interest might be the following:  The Chinese Student and Scholar Association; The Indian Student Association; The Saudi Student Association; and The Korean Graduate Student Association.

We are housed in the Cultural Unity & Engagement Center (CUE Center), in the Center for Community room N320.

Sponsored Programs

Boulder Friends of International Students

Some of your most rewarding experiences will be the ones outside the classroom or campus environment, when you become friends with local people and learn about American customs, lifestyle, and traditions. Boulder Friends of International Students (BFIS) provides this opportunity.

BFIS is a friendship organization of volunteers in the Boulder community. Members help students settle into life in Boulder, and hope to build friendships and share cultural insights with their international student. You will not live with your host, but you may get together from time to time for various activities, like meeting for coffee or a meal, hiking, attending a sporting or cultural event, sharing holidays, or conversation. Participation is voluntary, but if you do ask to be matched with a host, we expect you to see your friend at least once a month.

To be matched with a BFIS host, please complete and return the BFIS application form. There is no fee to be matched. After you have been assigned a suitable host, you will receive an email with information about your friend. BFIS will try to match you before you leave your home country, but you may not be matched until you arrive. If you have not received a letter with information about your host before you leave home (or if you decide at the last minute you would like to have a host), please tell an advisor when you check-in.

For more information visit the BFIS website or stop by the ISSP office.


CU-International is a group of student volunteers who plan and lead activities for international students, scholars, and faculty. They also provide support and service to international students experiencing sudden and unusual difficulties. Members are both international and American students. New students meet CU International members for the first time during check-in at ISSS. They are friendly students who answer questions, organize campus tours, and plan dinners and other events where students can meet each other.

Both of the following activities, organized by CU International, are excellent ways to meet people and to get additional conversational practice:

  • International Coffee Hour: On Friday afternoons during the Fall and Spring semesters, all CU students, faculty, and staff are invited to an informal gathering at the University Memorial Center (UMC), UMC Grill, 4 - 5:30 p.m. Here's a promotional video for International Coffee Hour.
  • CU International’s "CUWednesday" is a weekly gathering at different local restaurants. Check the CU International website for the latest details.

For more information visit the CU-International website.

International Festival

The International Festival is a celebration of the many cultures and countries represented on the CU-Boulder campus. It is held on a Saturday in the spring semester; international students showcase their country and culture through displays, performances, and samples of food. The Festival is very popular with over 4,000 people attending.  The Festival is organized by a committee of international students with the guidance of an ISSS staff member. The International Festival Committee (IFC) meets for most of the fall and spring semesters to organize the event. All CU students are welcome to join the IFC. 

For more information click here. 

International Student Guide Program

This is your chance to have a CU student help guide you in the first weeks that you are here. The International Student Guides (ISG) help you with questions before you arrive and with your initial cultural and academic adjustments. Click here for more information.

The ISG program is open to undergraduate and graduate students during their first semester at CU. Participating is entirely optional! To apply for a guide, please review the Incoming ISG Program Application.


ISSP Staff

Program Coordinator

Becky Sibley has over 30 years of experience working in International Education.  Her first years at CU were with the Study Abroad Programs office, working in all aspects of study abroad program and exchange management, student selection and orientation.  She has since worked as an international student and scholar adviser.  She now coordinates the various programs for international students and scholars and works with CU staff and students on improving intercultural communication.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish, and her Master’s degree in Social Foundations of Multicultural Education, from the University of Colorado.  She earned a certificate in Estudios Hispanicos from the University of Madrid, and participated in short-term international seminars in Cuernavaca, Mexico and Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.  She was a participant in the Fulbright U.S. - Korea International Education Administrator’s Program.  Becky loves to travel and brings international experiences to her work at CU.  She is a global nomad, having been raised in Venezuela, California, Iran, Lebanon and Spain, before settling in Colorado. 

BFIS Matching Coordinator

Abby Caballeros is a Junior in Electrical and Computer Engineering and pursuing a minor in Technology, Arts, and Media and a certificate in Spanish. She enjoys being outdoors, and snowboarding is her favorite thing to do! Abby is a member of the Kayak Club, Boulder Freeride, and AIESES. She really likes learning about space travel and our surrounding universes. Abby also love to learn about other cultures and their differences and similarities.

Graduate Student Assistant

Do you like meeting new people, working as a team, and planning events and activities at CU Boulder? Alex Maughan does! Other activities Alex enjoys are skiing, reading, and playing computer and board games. Alex has been working at International Student & Scholar Programs while studying for a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction at the CU School of Education. :-D

Student Assistant

Ali Johnson is senior International Affairs and French major, recently returned from participating in the CU in DC Program and working with the World Affairs Council of Washington DC. During the 2013-2014 academic year she worked with the BFIS program. Additionally, during the Spring '13 semester she studied abroad in Copenhagen focusing on European Politics. She enjoys working with international students and helping them aclimate to life in the US. After graduation she plans to pursue a Master's degree in International Law and eventualy work for the Foreign Service.