International Student Newsletter

Dear International Students,

Happy Spring! In Announcements, learn about the Community Service Center's Global Days of Service, and consider this opportunity to engage with a local community partner while learning about Boston and its social justice issues. Also, consider applying to be an International Peer Mentor (IPM) for the summer/fall 2022 IPM Program, and make a positive impact in the life of a first-year undergraduate international student. On April 18, celebrate the 2022 Boston Marathon, at the BU Does the Marathon watch party. We are also pleased to share, BU's inaugural Lavender Graduation will take place on Saturday, May 21, 7:00-9:30 PM. This event is held to recognize the achievements and contributions of the graduating class of undergraduate LGBTQ+ students at BU. In the Employment in the U.S. section, meet senior Ariane Vigna (COM'22), who reflects on her editorial internship with the media group Modern Luxury, and shares advice for international students. In Culture Corner, IPM Program Assistant Vaibhavi Hansrajani, discusses Greek Life at BU, and how international students might benefit from this experience.

We wish you best of luck with the remainder of the spring semester, and warmest congratulations to all of our graduating students!

We hope you enjoy this content, and if you have any feedback or suggestions for future newsletters, please contact Kamelia Turcotte at


people gathering litter in a wooded area

Global Days of Service

This year, Global Days of Service (GDS) will take place through April 8-10 and April 22-24. If you are looking to cultivate meaningful relationships in the local Boston area, consider signing up for a service opportunity. For more information, 2021 participant testimonials, and to register, please visit:

More Info & Register
International Peer Mentor Program

Apply to be an International Peer Mentor!

Global Programs is accepting applications for International Peer Mentors (IPMs) for the summer/fall 2022 program. IPMs support the transition of first-year undergraduate international students to BU, promote opportunities for international student engagement, and share knowledge and campus resources. To learn more about the program, and the IPM responsibilities and qualifications, visit the IPM Program website. Application deadline is Monday, May 2.

Apply Now!
BU Does the Marathon: marathon watch party

BU Does the Marathon

Celebrate the 2022 Boston Marathon, a unique and historic Boston tradition, and have some fun at the BU Does the Marathon watch party! Marathoners, free swag, snacks, music and more. Monday, April 18, 12 – 2pm at the corner of Beacon & Park Drive and the corner of Beacon & Amory Street.

More Information
Boston University Lavender Graduation: a cultural celebration to recognize BU's LGBTQ+ graduating students

BU Lavender Graduation

Queer Activist Collective ("Q"), Boston University's student-led LGBTQ+ organization dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ and allied community members, along with the LGBTQIA+ Faculty & Staff Community Center, is hosting BU's inaugural Lavender Graduation on Saturday, May 21 7:00-9:30 PM at the Questrom School of Business Auditorium!

This event is held to recognize the achievements and contributions of the graduating class of undergraduate LGBTQ+ students at BU.This event is free and open to all undergraduate students graduating in 2022. The deadline to register is Sunday, April 10.


Upcoming Events

Employment in the U.S.

Adriane Vigna in front of city skyline

A Word from Students

BU student, Ariane Vigna (COM'22) reflects on her internship experiences in the U.S., and shares advice with international students.

Read the Full Story

Culture Corner

Greek Life

Written by Vaibhavi Hansrajani, International Peer Mentor Assistant

What is Greek Life?

“Greek life” is a term for different exclusive societies–fraternities for men, sororities for women–that have an association with the university or college they are founded at. Fraternities and Sororities use Greek letters for their names (e.g., Kappa Delta). The history of these organizations goes back to the 1800s in the U.S. but they are not common in other countries.

Greek Life at Boston University

Boston University is home to 12 fraternities and 12 sororities on campus, which makes up a small but active Greek community. There are also citywide Greek organizations and Greek honor societies. Approximately 15% of undergraduates are engaged in Greek Life here at BU. Fraternities and sororities offer a convenient way to make friends at a large university, and they provide opportunities to develop leadership qualities and to have some fun. Greek organizations are founded to bring people together based on similar values. They consist of social, professional, and community service chapters.

  • The professional fraternities and sororities are usually associated with the field of study. There are engineering, business, environmental sciences, cinema and theatre, chemistry, pre-law, and pre-med chapters among many others. They have events like networking nights, professor and expert talks, developmental panels, fundraisers, events to spread awareness on social issues along with opportunities to form study groups, work on different projects, and have chapter-bonding events.
  • The social chapters are more relaxed and outgoing. They have themed events and parties, and other small events. This is a great opportunity to meet people, especially if you are trying to make new friends from outside your own culture and major.
  • Much of BU's Greek life revolves around the tradition of supporting local and national philanthropies. The fraternities and sororities advocate community service and host a ‘Day of Service’ every fall, where they work together alongside other BU students to help various charities and organizations. The community service fraternities hold charities, fundraisers, and several events, such as cleaning the Esplanade, and teaching underprivileged students.


Recruitment takes place at the beginning of either or both the fall and spring semesters depending on the chapter. Typically, chapters have one-chapter meeting per week where all members come together to go over announcements, vote on official matters, and perform rituals. Many chapters host study hours, participate in intramural teams, put on sisterhood/brotherhood events, and perform service hours weekly. Most chapters host a major philanthropy event once a semester to raise money for their national and local philanthropies. Chapters also participate in fun social events like formals and date parties.

For recruitment, once you receive a bid from a chapter, an invitation to become a member, you enter that chapter’s new member education program, which continues until you are initiated into the chapter as a sister/brother. While it varies from chapter to chapter, most programs include learning about your chapter’s history, values, philanthropies, and traditions. You will also receive a "big", someone who is like a mentor within the organization. This is just a way of getting one comfortable in the new community. It is certainly encouraged to engage with all members.


Joining a Greek organization can help international students make friends, find support in a new culture, and adjust to student life in the U.S. International students who are interested in joining a fraternity or sorority at Boston University should research the options. Students should ask questions of chapter leaders and individual members, such as what type of regular social activities the chapter holds, what the personal and academic benefits of joining are and what potential leadership and community service activities are available.

Sources: BU Greek Life, Boston University Sorority Life, Greek Life Expands, How Epic is Greek Life, Why International Students Might Want to Consider Greek Life

If you have suggestions for an aspect of American culture to feature in the next communication, please contact Kamelia Turcotte at

The Compass

There are over 250 academic, housing, community, and employment resources currently on the Compass and each issue we will highlight two.