The International Assistant Program was established in 1980 in response to the needs of incoming international students. The program matches each incoming undergraduate international student with an upper class student, an International Assistant. The purpose of the International Assistant Program is to facilitate the adjustment of new international students to Boston College, Boston, and American life in general, especially during the crucial first month.

International Student Orientation  

The International Assistants play a major role in the 3-day International Student Orientation which takes place just prior to the freshman and transfer student orientations. This program is designed to provide international students with valuable information as well as the opportunity to meet and socialize with both American and other international students. Other educational and social activities are also held throughout the school year to help promote a year-long commitment to the program.


Some of the most benefitting aspects of the program are the lifelong relationships that are formed and being exposed to different cultures. This program cultivates experiences that students remember for the rest of their lives.  


The International Assistant Program is therefore designed to increase international awareness at Boston College in that both International Assistants and international students benefit from the experience. 

What is an International Assistant?

One or two incoming undergraduate international students are assigned to each International Assistant in the Fall term. For some international students, this may be their first experience in the United States. Others may have studied or traveled extensively in the United States before. It is the International Assistant's job to adapt to the level of his/her student's needs.

The Roles an International Assistant Plays Are:

1) A friend and support - The most important way to help your international student is by being his or her friend. A smile or a word of confidence at a crucial moment can often do more than any list of facts. If this is your student's first time in the United States, he or she may feel homesick from time to time, or overwhelmed by the change of environment. Often, the new surroundings may appear strange and upsetting until your student feels more at home. At those times, your understanding may be invaluable.

2) A resource person - Since you have already studied at Boston College for a year or more, you are familiar with how things work at Boston College and in Boston. Your international student may have questions ranging from "How much does the subway cost?" to "Why do Americans act this way?" Your student may also need help in such matters as opening a bank account or buying clothes suitable for New England weather. Most of these questions can be easily answered by drawing on your own past experiences.

3) A culture sharer - Most international students come from countries whose cultures, customs, and values differ from those of the United States. The degree of difference will depend on the individual student and culture. It is your challenge, as an International Assistant, to be aware of the possibility that these differences may be present, and to be willing to explain occurrences from the American point of view. Remember, the American way is not the only way. You may find that many of the things you take for granted are peculiarly American, and may be viewed quite differently by people from other cultures. It will be your challenge to help your student understand those ways, so that he or she may readily adapt to life in the United States. Your international student will learn a great deal about American culture through everyday events. In helping your student understand the hows and whys of American life, you will come to a deeper understanding of yourself and of your own culture. Another important feature of the International Assistant Program is that you will also have the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of other cultures.


All International Assistants participate in a mandatory training session in late Spring and a three day training workshop prior to the arrival of the new international students at the end of August. The purpose of the trainings is twofold: International Assistants are provided with some of the necessary information and skills they need to effectively assist their international students, and through various exercises and discussions, International Assistants are made aware of what it is like to be an international student at Boston College.

Commitment as an International Assistant

You are expected to :

1) Participate in a training session in late Spring.

2) Use Facebook, Wechat and/or emails to communicate with your assigned students during the summer.

3) Participate fully in the International Assistant Workshop and the International Student Orientation at the end of August.

4) Take responsibility for meeting your student immediately if he/she does not come to the International Student Orientation.

5) Make daily contact with your international student during the first few weeks of school when questions and confusion often arise, and continue to maintain contact with him/her throughout the semester. It is the responsibility of the International Assistant to initiate these meetings, and to adapt to your international student's particular needs and interests.

6) Be willing to help any new international student who requires assistance, even if he/she is not assigned to you.

7) Help organize and attend several International Assistant/ Student educational and social activities throughout the semester.

Submission is closed, we are not accepting anymore applications.

Please take time to review this information carefully. It contains important information regarding the roles of an International Assistant and the application process. The International Assistant program is a semester-long commitment. Before scheduling an interview, be sure you can make a total commitment to the purpose, dates, and requirements of the program.  

The application process is electronic. It is important that you follow the steps outlined below in sequence to complete the application. The submission deadline is March 25. You will be notified of your acceptance by April 16.


  • You must be an undergraduate student.
  • It is not required that you be an international student, speak a foreign language, or have traveled abroad to be an International Assistant. We are looking for high-energy people with a strong sense of commitment and openness.
  • Due to conflicting responsibilities, International Assistants cannot be Resident Assistants, Orientation Leaders, or Transfer Assistants.
  • You can still become an International Assistant, even if you are going abroad for spring.
  • The IA training will be IN PERSON on Sunday, April 28, tentatively from 11 am to 3 pm in Walsh Hall.
  • All International Assistants must arrive back on campus on August 18th.

Attendance at the International Assistant Workshop as well as full participation in the International Student Orientation is mandatory (and fun!) The workshop will be August 18th-20th. At this time the orientation dates will be August 20th-22nd. Please turn in your application early. 


Read and understand the International Assistant requirements. You must be able to commit to all of the requirements for a semester.


Complete the application form