International Student Support

Global Programs has developed a number of tools, programs and resources to help international students, both undergraduate and graduate to adapt, and thrive academically and to engage in the BU community.


BU First Class

BU First Class was first launched by Global Programs in 2016 to prepare incoming international students for the transition to BU and the American classroom. It is an online noncredit pre-arrival course delivered on the edX platform Edge and is comprised of short videos, polls, and self-checks designed to be completed from anywhere on any device. Currently the course contains 4 sections:

  1. The Boston University Classroom
  2. Academic Integrity and Expectations
  3. International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) Information
  4. Transition to Campus

All incoming international undergraduate and graduate students are automatically enrolled in the course each fall and spring semesters, to date over 19,000 international students have been enrolled in BU First Class!

What students are saying (fall 2021)
“This was very helpful. The modules were comprehensive and catered to most of my questions regarding life as an international student at BU.”
“I will revisit [the course] again and again.”
“This course was the best resource during my transition period as a new student.”
“I recommend incoming international students to complete this course before they come to the U.S.”


International Peer Mentor Program

The International Peer Mentor program was begun by the Orientation office in 2013. In 2018 Global Programs was asked to take the program over and between 2018 and 2021 we have increased Mentor participation by nearly 400%.

The program matches incoming first year undergraduate international students with peer mentors based on background, common interests, academics, and professional goals. Mentors act as the mentees first friend at BU, answering questions and introducing them to life on campus and in Boston. The program runs from July to November and January to March each year. Since 2018 the program has matched over 700 Mentors with over 1,200 mentees.

What students are saying (fall 2021)
95% of mentees had a positive experience with their mentor
89% of mentees reported a better understanding of BU and available resources


Talk About

Talk About is a series of virtual events started in fall 2020 originally to help students manage the challenges of LfA. The series is co-hosted by Global Programs, undergraduate International Peer Mentors and various departments around campus on topics chosen by international students for international students. It was such a success that the series moved beyond LfA as students asked for diverse discussion ranging from LfA Best Practices and Well–being during COVID-19 to Networking and Employment in and outside the U.S. to Academic Integrity and Race and Diversity in the U.S. and more. Since its inception over 1800 international students have registered for 13 sessions.

What students are saying (fall 2021)
94% of attendees agree the information presented made them more knowledgeable about the event topic and available resources
100% will attend another Talk About event in the future


International Student Newsletter

The international Student Newsletter launched fall of 2021 and is a monthly newsletter to all international graduate and undergraduate students. The newsletter’s purpose was to share non immigration related information, announcements, resources and events that would be of interest to International students.



Also launched in 2016, the Compass is a search engine to find more than 300 resources at BU and in the surrounding area that could be useful to international students and scholars. The resources are classified into four categories: Academics, Community, Housing, and Career and Employment.