International Student & Scholar 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 there are two BU First Class courses. BU First Class which contains 3 sections:

  1. The Boston University Classroom
  2. Academic Integrity and Expectations
  3. Transition to Campus

And BU First Class ISSO Immigration Overview for Students which contains information on Maintaining your Immigration Status, Employment in the US, and Travel and Visa information.

All incoming international undergraduate and graduate students are automatically enrolled in the course each fall and spring semesters, to date over 27,000 international students have been enrolled in BU First Class!

What students are saying (fall 2022)
“A great guide for an international student. I will revisit the course.”
“All three modules were very detailed and helpful to me. I feel reassured and excited about my arrival.”
“A great way to introduce international students to life at BU.”


International Peer Mentor Program

The International Peer Mentor program was begun by the Orientation office in 2013.

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 1000 Mentors with over 1,600 mentees.

What students are saying (fall 2022)
93% of mentees had a positive experience with their mentor
92% 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 2,500 international students have registered for 18 sessions.

What students are saying (fall 2022)
96% of attendees agree the information presented made them more knowledgeable about the event topic and available resources
100% of attendees are likely to attend a future Talk About event.


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.