The University of Iowa created the Global Buddies program exclusively for its J-1 visa exchange
students. Exchange students study at the University of Iowa for up to two semesters, so exposing
them to American culture and connecting them with American students is crucial. In the Global
Buddies program, exchange students are matched with American students who have recently
returned from studying abroad. Participants in the Global Buddies program typically meet at
least once every couple of weeks, and may join a coordinated event through the University’s
International Programs Office.
On a recent late summer day, the Global Buddies program coordinator, Jessica Voigt, an
international student herself, organized a scavenger hunt for new exchange students around the
University campus. One of the items on the scavenger list included a snapshot of the students
with “a unique person” on campus. One fearless group took the charge seriously and knocked
on the front door of the University president’s home. University of Iowa President Sally Mason
answered the door and snapped a picture with the group for their “unique” photo, making a
memorable start to the school year.
An unforgettable finale to last year’s Global Buddies program, also masterminded by Ms.
Voigt, mimicked the popular television series “The Amazing Race,” sending students off on
a race around Iowa City. The race was captured on