Thanks to the support of our members, partners, and volunteers, we celebrated 60 years of promoting international understanding and cultural exchange! We continue to expand people’s worldview and make Rochester a welcoming and inclusive community for international students and international visitors.
Through the International Friendship Program, everyday Rochesterians practice citizen diplomacy by providing hospitality for people around the world to promote positive U.S. foreign relations. Often, these friendships last a lifetime, such as it did for a prior international student, Ali and his wife, Malahat, from Iran. Ali and Malahat met their Friendship Volunteers, Mary and Albert, over 50 years ago and both families believe this bond has made them more understanding of one another’s country and culture. Influenced by this friendship, Ali and Malahat decided to raise their family and establish their careers here in Rochester.
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Impact of International Students in Rochester
International students bring much value and enrichment to college campuses and the Greater Rochester community. In addition to diversity, they also bring a significant economic contribution to our region.
According to the NAFSA FY17 Annual Report, over 7,708 international students are enrolled in local universities and colleges. Read the full report here.
Friendships can also bring people together during conflict. Natalie, an Open World alumna, returned to Ukraine inspired after learning about accessible libraries in Rochester and the U.S. She made plans to implement similar libraries in her home country, but a few years later, Natalie and her family became Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) due to the conflict in Ukraine. Because of the people she met though Rochester Global Connections (RGC), she was able to get the resources and support she needed to remain safe and to assist other IDPs.
Whether it’s a personal or professional connection, we strive to bring our world closer together through cross-cultural exchanges that inspire, inform, and educate.
Our programs help international students adjust to living in the U.S. and form bonds of friendship that easen the challengings of living abroad, while breaking down cultural barriers or preconceived notions. Community support is vital to retain our international student community.