University of Iowa
Global Buddies logo - hey every buddy with map of the world

The Global Buddies Program is an organization that matches new international exchange students with domestic students who have been on campus for at least one year. Domestic students are often former study abroad participants. Students will learn from each other as they engage in fun activities together. The new exchange students will be learning about the University, Iowa City, U.S. culture(s), and the English language. The students from the United States will learn about the culture, language and country of the student with whom they are matched. In addition, this is an opportunity for all participants to reflect on and gain a deeper understanding of their own culture through new perspectives, as well as an opportunity to make a new friend.


Students at the Global Buddies picnic
Students at the Global Buddies Prom

Global Buddies Activities

UI staff organize at least one Global Buddies event a month. Previous activities have included the following:

  • Evening gatherings to watch movies, go out for dinner, celebrate various holidays throughout the year
  • Field trips to quaint Iowa towns for shopping and festivals
  • Hikes through Hickory Hill Park in Iowa City, Maquoketa Caves and other state parks
  • Hawkeye football/basketball/volleyball games
  • Visits to haunted houses for Halloween and other holiday adventures
  • Field trips to swimming pools and lakes in the Iowa City area
  • Other activities suggested by the students throughout the year!

Global Buddies commit to the following:

  • Accompanying your buddy to Global Buddies group activities when possible
  • Meeting with your buddy at least twice per month during your first semester in Iowa City
  • Contacting Global Buddies staff if you and your buddy have any misunderstandings
  • Notifying Global Buddies staff if for any reason you are unable to follow through with these commitments



Please email here if you are interested in Global Buddies. If eligible, you will be emailed an application weblink. Please note Global Buddies membership is limited to domestic students and J-1 exchange students coming to the University of Iowa for a short term stay (not F-1 students).


Please contact the Global Buddies Coordinator for more information:

Taivna Mills


This video highlights one of Global Buddies' social events, The Amazing Race, in which participants deciphered clues, completed challenges and raced to the finish line.