Attention New International Students
The Office of International Programs and Services at ETSU encourages you to apply for our International Friendship Program (IFP). There are two parts to IFP: our International Host Program and our Buccaneer Buddy Program (IBB). You may apply for either or both programs. If you apply for the IFP Host Program, you will be paired with an ETSU faculty or staff volunteer who will help you during the first few days after your arrival. Please note that this program is only available to new students coming to ETSU for the first time and hosts cannot accommodate family or friends traveling with the student. The benefits of applying for the program are:
If you apply for the IBB, you will be placed in one of several small groups of around 25-30 students that includes both American students and other international students. The benefits of applying for the IFP Buccaneer Buddy Program are:
There are limited openings for the program so the earlier you apply the better the chance of being served. The deadline for applying for Fall semester is August 10 and the deadline for Spring semester is December 10. Following the applications below you can read what recent international students said about their experience with IFP and IBB.
Recent International Students Experience with IFP Host Program
Claudia Hamann: Germany
During my stay at ETSU I joined the International Host Program and the Buccaneer Buddy Program. Both decisions turned out to be very important for my time abroad. When leaving your home for a long time and going to a place you don’t know, you are very excited. But you are also doubtful because it means changing your whole life. It is so helpful to have the certainty that there is someone on the other side of the world waiting for you. I can assure you that there will be at least one situation where you have no idea what you are doing and will really appreciate having someone beside you to help you.
After missing a flight and traveling for 25 hours, I arrived in the middle of the night and was so glad to see a friendly face smiling at me. I had a place to sleep for the first days and someone who helped me to move to my new home, which was particularly important because the public transport in the US is not like we know it from Europe. But what is the best of all is that I feel like I have a second family abroad and people I can come to if I feel lost. I felt so comfortable during my first days with them and I am so happy that I have met my lovely host family. We are still in contact, although I do not live there anymore.
I was very happy when I got my admission confirmation from ETSU, but later I started to worry because I didn’t know anyone from Johnson City. I received a brochure about IBB & IFP along with my I20 and then I wrote an email to register for both the programs. After few days I got an email from my host family (Sumit and Julia) and then all my worries were gone. They picked me from airport, took me out to their friend’s place for a dinner party and helped me to move into my apartment. They helped with the process of opening a bank account, initial shopping, and a sim card. I cannot forget their help during my initial days at ETSU.
Yu Terai: Japan
Your host will be your family in the U.S.! Before I came here, I had not lived alone or studied abroad, so I was very nervous about my life in Tennessee. However, I found that I don’t have to be worried about anything; Katie and her family helped me with everything I needed to do. She picked me up at the airport although my flight was late at night. On the way to her home, she took good care of me and talked kindly to me even though I didn’t have good English skills. After we arrived at her house, I could be relaxed and forgot that I was anxious about everything. The next day she helped me to buy some stuff for school and to complete the entrance procedure, which was so helpful for me when I did not know what I should do.
Also, they support me and treat me as a family during this semester. They sometimes invite me to their house and I spend precious time with them. I always looking forward to talking with them because through our conversations I can know them more and their culture. They are so respectful to foreign culture, so it is definitely enjoyable to talk with them and share cultural experiences. Moreover, they care about my life and school here very often, and listen to my worries very kindly. I am so happy that I have someone always to stand by me and support me.
Mutong Yang: China
I applied for the IFP Host Program before I came to ETSU, and I have to say that it was a wise decision, I am glad I did it! I can’t deny I felt nervous after I arrived at the airport, because I knew my life was going to be different compared with my life in China. But at the moment I met my host family, I felt relieved that I’m not alone anymore, I have an “American family”! Having a host family made my arrival easier and more convenient, and it also gave me an opportunity to experience a real American life and gain a friendship as well. My host family not only picked me up at the airport, took me for shopping, but also gave me a lot of tips about ETSU. We chatted together during dinner time and I learned more about American culture.
Since it took me a few days to get used to the American time zone, my host family adjusted their daily schedule. What’s more, they told me to stay as long as I want, I felt really moved. Also, they invited me over for Christmas dinner, I really had a feast that day! This was the first time I celebrated Christmas, because we don’t celebrate this festival in China, and I really was instilled with the Christmas atmosphere. When it was about time to move to my dorm on campus, my host gave me many things, like pillows, pots, bedspread etc. and they helped me carried my luggage to my dorm. We still keep in touch now and I have to say I’m so lucky to have such a warm-hearted and kind host family! I really had a wonderful time with my host family!
Recent International Students Experience with IBB
Rachel Kamnkhwani: Malawi
Moving to another country was a huge step for me and I was very anxious about how I was going to survive without my family and friends. The thought of living in a different environment where I was going to be the only one from my nationality was scary. However, I was so happy when I read an email about the IBB program and how it helps international students to settle down and make friends quickly. I applied for IBB instantly and the wonderful thing about it is that I got a quick response. I started communicating with my American Buddy, LeeAnn, before I even left my country. This lady is so amazing! My experience with my IBB group has also been wonderful. I have had an opportunity to hang out with the whole group a couple of times. It was great! IBB gave me an opportunity to learn and appreciate other people’s culture. Through IBB I have met friends that I can always count on. I personally have had a great experience with IBB and I would recommend the program to international students who are hoping to join ETSU.
Naomi Sugahara: Japan
Throughout my entire campus life at ETSU, I have had a great time with my buddy and my International Buccaneer Buddy (IBB) friends! I had no idea what to do or how to live in such a completely different world. However, my buddy helped me a lot so I could adjust to this new culture. He and his friend, for example, brought me to the mall. Thanks to them, I was able to get prepared for the first semester in the U.S. and enjoy hanging out together. We also shared some amazing moments by attending the IBB group activities such as a picnic and BBQ! IBB is the most amazing and fantastic group ever! Not only did we have the time of our lives, both in large and small group activities, but we spent many days going to the World Café and traveling with IBB friends during the break. I especially loved the Halloween season because there were many fun events such as Corn Mazes and costume parties. Overall, meeting international students from around the world through the IBB program motivated me to learn more about cultures of other countries. I will continue to seek out other cultures, and I will share my multicultural experiences when I become a teacher in Japan.
Reem Tariq: India
I was first introduced to the IBB program at the orientation. I didn't hesitate to fill out the form since it sounded like a great opportunity to meet more people. So far, my experience with IBB has been amazing. I was matched with my buddy, Aleigha, based on my outdoorsy inclinations. What started out as a partnership soon blossomed into friendship. I had the chance to meet Aleigha's wonderful family over Thanksgiving. In fact, I have met so many amazing people from all over the world through IBB. And I am incredibly grateful to Dr. Morrow and his team who work so hard to keep things running in this organization! IBB has become a significant part of my ETSU experience - one that I will cherish for years to come!
Mutong Yang: China
After I saw the International Buccaneer Buddy Program through an e-mail, I applied for it without hesitation. And I am so glad that I made this decision which gave me an opportunity to meet my buddy Christa. We introduced ourselves thoroughly via e-mails. What surprised me is that she can speak and understand Chinese, which made our conversation go more smoothly. When I first arrived ETSU, I felt a little bit depressed because of the culture shock. But Christa made me relieved, at least I got one American friend to talk with. Before the semester started, she drove me to Walmart, helped me select things, and gave me lots of useful advice. The time with her was all great and interesting! We’ve been to the mall, went hiking together, and had Chinese and Japanese food together. I send her messages when I’m in trouble and need some help and she’s always there to help. I don’t feel anxious or embarrassed while talking with her, even if I use the wrong grammar. She can still understand what I’m saying when I can’t express a word, and she will teach me how to say that word. By talking with her and sending messages to her, my English skills have improved a lot. I really appreciate that the IBB Program gave me the opportunity to know Christa, my first American friend. I think this program not only helped me gain a friendship, but also improved my English skills and let me know more about different cultures!
Hyacinthe Umwali: Rwanda
When I got admitted to ETSU, I had mixed feelings; obviously I was super excited about the great program I was about to join; but I was also nervous about meeting new people and living in a city where I didn’t have any friends. Before I completely moved to Johnson City, I came for my Graduate assistantship interview; I was travelling from Little Rock Arkansas, and I got even more nervous because it seemed like it is in the middle of nowhere, far from all my friends. I first got acquainted with IBB when I got an email from my buccaneer buddy named Stephanie Bates. She introduced herself and told me that I should call her in case I need anything. She sounded friendly, and I was so glad that I had somebody to call in case I needed something. We met at the first IBB event at the CPA, and we got to talk a little bit and we have hung out on multiple occasions afterwards. She helped me feel welcome not only at ETSU but also in Johnson City in general. Now I like Johnson City, it is a small beautiful city; I mostly like the outdoor options like hiking when the weather is permitting, and visiting places such as Jonesborough- a historic city. I am very grateful to the IBB program because it made it possible for me to meet as caring of an individual as Stephanie, and I would like to pay it forward to other students as much as I can.
Fuki Azuma: Japan
I will never forget the moment that my host family and my buddy picked me up at the airport. I didn’t know anything about Johnson City, but they showed me around and helped me with my first shopping in America. New students have a lot of required processes to be an ETSU student. It was difficult, but they helped me. Without their help, I might not have been able to come. I think most international students worry about making friends in America. I was concerned about it, but my buddy has been great! She is my first American friend and takes me to good places. We spend a lot of time and make good memories together. Sometimes she introduces me her other friends, so I now am friends with a lot of my buddy’s friends! IBB is one of the great opportunities to make good friends. I really appreciate this program and the chance it has given me to meet my sweet buddy!