First-year students will apply via the IPOP Registration Form in SLATE.
Friends of International Students (FIS) has offered a valuable bridge between the campus and the local community for many years! FIS helps to build friendships across cultures, languages, and generations. The program enriches the lives of both students and hosts — participation is an act of soft diplomacy and hospitality. We want new students from around the globe to know that #YouAreWelcomeHere!
Every fall, Grinnell welcomes approximately 100 new international and global nomad students to campus. Students are invited to participate in FIS during their first year, and some relationships last longer. Participants connect over food, music and the arts, athletics and nature, and local and regional adventures. Students learn more about the community, hosts learn more about the College, and everyone learns more about the world!
Here’s How It Works…
- Hosts and students complete an application to indicate their interest.
- The Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) assigns student/host matches every August.
- Students arrive in mid-August to participate in International Pre-Orientation Program (IPOP), and FIS participants meet one another early in the fall semester.
The OISA will host an initial FIS Meet and Greet in early August, after which both students and hosts are encouraged to initiate invitations to meet. Hosts often invite students to visit their homes and to explore the local area. Students often invite hosts to campus activities and may consider their FIS host as a resource for their adjustment to life in Iowa. The OISA staff and FIS volunteer coordinators are available to offer ideas about connecting or an experienced ear if you have questions. Feel free to call 641-269-3703 or email OISA. You can also contact the FIS volunteer coordinators Rachel Bly, Shane Hart, Mary Lindberg, and Sara McCue.
We ask FIS hosts and students to initiate at least three or four activities per semester. Get to know each other and explore the local community together. Both students and hosts can extend invitations, and the best relationships are mutual.
We like to hear about FIS adventures, so please send us stories or photos! The OISA will invite you to special events, on occasion, like Grinnell’s Family Weekend, a fall pumpkin-carving party, a winter social, and the International Student Organization’s annual ISO Cultural Evening. You’ll also receive MOSAIC, a student magazine about global activities. In addition, we always need new hosts so please share the opportunity with friends.
Students have access to many campus resources. They are required to live on campus (with limited exceptions for upper-level students). Every student has a community adviser (CA); a residence life coordinator (RLC); a career advisor (CLS); and an academic advisor. Plus, they can always ask the OISA for help! International students can remain in their residence halls over academic year breaks, and they have access to summer storage organized by the Office of Residence Life and transportation via the Office of Facilities Management. They also have 24/7 access to Campus Safety, and confidential resources via Student Health and Wellness; Title IX; and the Center for Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice.
In May, we reach out to FIS hosts to ask about your experience, and we invite you to consider hosting a new student the following year!