International House, A Veritable Social Bubble

(For French speakers, I have included a translation of this article in French below.)

Overlooking Berkeley’s Campus, high on Bancroft Way, stands an ivory-domed house with slightly Spanish architecture: International House at UC Berkeley. Funded in 1930 by the famous businessman John D. Rockefeller Jr, the building hosts approximately 600 residents from 60 different countries. 

International House, overlooking UC Berkeley Campus

The residents live on eight different floors, in single or double rooms. They share showers and bathrooms. The furnishings are simple, but everyone turns their room into their own, as the photos and memories accumulate over beds, desks, and dressers. 

International House, thanks to a community-thought design, allows residents to share warm common rooms: the Great Hall with its fireplace, comfy couches and giant TV, the game room, and the library, which is open 24/7 for residents.

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My 5 Favorite Things About I-House

My 5 Favorite Things About I-House, by Carina Samson

1. I-House is home to students of all ages from all around the world!

I-House is filled with both undergraduate and graduate students who represent over 70 countries, including the United States. Our residents are what makes I-House truly live up to its name, with 75% of the population being international, most of whom are living abroad from their families to attend UC Berkeley. The intimidating idea of living next to your Graduate Student Instructor may not initially be appealing to you, but rest assured it’s a fun and comical experience that you will definitely get used to. After all, being able to walk down the hallway to ask your neighbors for advice on job interviews and graduate school applications is super helpful!

I-House residents at our Global Photoshoot and Big Give Coffee Hour

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2. I-House houses talented residents and amazing event organizers who keep our residence lively and full of exciting experiences!

Every Wednesday evening, I-House hosts student-driven Coffee Hours and other cultural events that celebrate the diversity that I-House represents. These events usually feature coffee and snacks from the specific country/countries that the event represents, as well as singing, dancing, arts and crafts, games, and various other fun activities! Did I mention that these events are organized by our very own residents? We’re really fortunate to have such a talented and culturally-aware family!

Photos from our Coffee Hours! Thank you to Berk Salih (Lunar New Year), Nagi Haba (Japanese Coffee Hour) and Byron Hsu (Taiwanese Coffee Hour) for the beautiful photographs.

3. I-House dining is exceptional, featuring cultural cuisine from various countries and several buffet options to fill our stomachs with every day!

I-House dining never fails to satisfy how hungry I get after a full day of classes. To say that the food at I-House is phenomenal would truly be an understatement and it’s always a joy to see your favorite dish from your hometown on the menu. Shoutout to our amazing dining hall staff for providing delicious meals for us everyday! Not to mention that the long Harry-Potter-esque dining hall tables are just the perfect environment for you to sit down and have a two-hour-long meal with your friends! Additionally, the recently restored Edmonds Café is now open to residents and the public for a sneak preview of coffee, tea, small bites, and beer and wine as well!

Tasty dishes made by our amazing chefs and photos of our dining hall at lunch time. Photos of Edmonds Café were taken from their Instagram page (@edmondsberkeley).

4. I-House has many recreational facilities, from a foosball table in the Game Room to a beautiful grand piano in our Great Hall for resident use!

Other facilities include a closet with several board games, puzzles, and sports equipment that residents can use, a ping pong table, a pool table, a TV we can use for karaoke, a music room filled with instruments (including two keyboards, three guitars, and a full drum set), and more!

Our foosball table, grand piano, music room, and pool table.

5. I-House is filled with breathtaking views and wonderful people!

The sunsets at I-House are breathtaking and the greenery in the courtyard is stunning! On a clear day, you can even see San Francisco off in the distance. Our dome lights up blue and gold at night under a backdrop of stars, and no matter what time of day, the skies never fail to disappoint. If you want a better look at nature, I-House is only a few minutes away from the Fire Trails and The Big C. But you don’t need to venture far to witness beauty, because I-House is filled with beautiful residents and staff members. It’s never a dull day here at I-House and I’m so thankful for the family that I have here!

Beautiful photos captured at I-House. Thank you to Vighnesh Nagpal (4th, 5th and 7th photos), Ryan Beam (6th photo) and Jonathan Hale (8th photo)!

What are your favorite I-House memories? Please share your favorite I-House photos and stories through this form or email

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Big Give at I-House 2022

The Big Give was truly a day of celebration. The university-wide annual fundraising event was nothing short of exciting as students, faculty, alumni and other members of the Cal community came together to support the amazing programs and organizations that we have here at UC Berkeley by spreading awareness and giving. Current residents at I-House jumped in on the fun as well, kicking the day off with hosting a Big Give Coffee Hour in the Great Hall. Activities included resident performances, a premiere of a short film that I created, and a raffle for I-House merchandise, including a few of our limited edition 90th Anniversary I-House posters. 

Raffle winner Natalie Chan holding one of our 90th anniversary posters, residents gathering to watch my short film, the delicious snacks we had at the Coffee Hour, and Bryan Chang and Allen Mao playing on the grand piano

The Great Hall was decorated with beautiful posters and signs that said “Thank You” in different languages, representing the multitude of cultures that make up I-House. Residents stopped by to take some pictures with these signs, as well as enjoyed some snacks and refreshments during the event, including freshly baked cookies made by our wonderful chefs! 

Current I-House residents posing with “Thank You” signs in various languages

Throughout the day, residents also wrote notes on our Gratitude board with reasons for why they give to I-House, ranging from creating “lifelong friendships” to “random dining hall conversations.” 

Notes written by our residents on our Gratitude board

Big Give festivities didn’t stop at the Coffee Hour. Our social media ambassadors worked diligently to circulate our hashtags and spread awareness about our I-House fundraiser by participating in various social media contests on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I created a short film, Why I Give: An Ode to I-House, which reflected on the amazing experiences I’ve had at I-House so far. We heard back from alumni from all around the world who said that my video rekindled fond memories from when they used to live at I-House, which was really heartwarming!

My short film

Our I-House Resident Council also worked hard to promote the Big Give within our resident community by tabling during mealtimes, as well as organizing a beautiful viola and cello performance for residents to enjoy while eating dinner. Adam Brownell, the president of the I-House Resident Council, wrote a lovely message about why he is grateful for I-House and it was emailed to all of our alumni, friends, and fans.

Our hardworking resident council and Steve Shin and Breanna Yang performing a viola and cello duet at dinner

Ultimately, the Big Give was a huge success as we raised over $50,000 from 170 donors, reaching our goals of achieving 135 gifts and receiving donations from 138 unique donors. This allowed us to unlock both a $1,500 challenge gift from Cal and a $10,000 challenge gift from the I-House Board of Directors!

Thank you message from our I-House Board of Directors!

Our donations and completed challenges!

On behalf of the I-House community, thank you to everyone who supported us during the Big Give this year. We wouldn’t have this amazing institution without you!

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Support I-House Today During Our Cal Big Give Challenge

Dear I-House Community,

It’s time again for the “Big Give,” UC Berkeley’s 24-hour virtual fundraising event and we invite you to join in on the fun and excitement. This year during the Big Give, we’re beginning a celebration of I-House “Through the Decades.”  

For more than nine decades, I-House has been facilitating intercultural connections that transform lives and advance a more just and peaceful world. Your gift will help this important work continue. If you make your gift today before 9:00 p.m. (PST), your gift will help us meet this challenge and unlock an additional $10,000 from the I-House Board!

Make a gift between now and 9:00 p.m. (PST) and represent your era at I-House!

Or simply make your gift here. All gifts, regardless of size, make a big impact! And if you’ve already made a gift this year, thank you! We are grateful for your support.

You can also join in the fun and help us generate more awareness of I-House and the Big Give by sharing your favorite I-House memory representing your era on Twitter or Instagram and including #CalBigGive and #InternationalHouse. Or you can share photos and your favorite I-House memory via this form or by email to Select stories may be highlighted during Big Give and in our next newsletter. 

Now more than ever, our world needs the spirit of I-House. 

Thanks for your support!


Shaun Carver, I-House Executive Director
Shaun R. Carver
Executive Director
International House at UC Berkeley

P.S. In the spirit of Big Give, you may also receive emails from other UC Berkeley programs today. Please forgive our enthusiasm — it’s for a good cause! And if you’ve already made a gift this year, thank you! We are grateful for your support.

P.P.S. Please help us to spread the word to other alumni and friends around the world. Share our Big Give link!

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Support I-House on Giving Tuesday During our Annual Appeal Season

Dear I-House Community,

On the occasion of Giving Tuesday, I would like to convey my personal thanks to our alumni and other supporters who have already provided financial contributions this fiscal year, including during our annual appeal. If you have not yet had an opportunity, we hope that you will consider supporting I-House and will make a gift now to help future residents have this singular opportunity to enjoy such a life-changing experience.

Please Make a Gift to I-House Now

In times like this where Asian hate crimes are becoming increasingly intense and prevalent, I want to spread the notion that the bigotry and exclusion manifested in our society today must be struck down and eliminated, a notion that Harry Edmonds, the founder of I-House, conceived and acted upon as he opened I-House New York in 1924.

Jooshim Kim,
Current I-House Resident

As a generous supporter who shares our mission, like Jooshim you have personally experienced the power of international fellowship. You have witnessed how a gift to I-House can create a world of opportunities and a lifetime of impact for our residents from around the globe.

Those who understand and have supported the ideals of International House know that, while age-old problems continue to persist, the solutions remain clear. What better solution to ameliorate global conflicts and crises, escalating tensions, and fears of confrontation than supporting the mission of I-House: fostering intercultural respect and understanding, lifelong friendships, and leadership skills for a more just and peaceful world?

The vibrancy, resilience, and strength of I-House traditions, community, and connections are a firm foundation. As you know, I-House, by design, brings together residents from different nations, religions, skill sets, and cultural backgrounds, and instills within them the desire to make the world a better place. With your help, we shall continue to provide the opportunity for residents to expand their horizons and embody the I-House magic!

Please give today to provide future global leaders like Jooshim the chance to learn, grow, and to enjoy the life-changing experience of I-House.

Your generosity provides critical resources that further the I-House vision of fostering a more just and peaceful world through broader intercultural understanding and mutual respect. Thank you for your support!


Shaun Carver, I-House Executive Director
Shaun R. Carver
Executive Director
International House at UC Berkeley

PS – Thank you if you have given recently!  Your gifts are important to keep the I-House dream alive today, tomorrow, and forever. We are extremely grateful for all support, and very much appreciate that you would consider a gift during this pivotal time.

Due to potential mail delays, you may prefer to make your gift to I-House online at, contact us at, or call (510) 642-4128 to speak with us about other ways of giving, including making a legacy gift in your estate plans.

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The I-House Connection: November 2021

Dear I-House Alumni and Friends,

In this issue of the I-House Connection, I’d like to highlight a food drive underway as an opportunity for Residents to support Afghan Scholars and their families.  As a glimpse into life at I-House in the waning days of Fall Term, our Social Media Ambassadors have created a compilation of some of the fun Halloween festivities here at the House, and a French Music playlist for your listening pleasure. In this issue, we also bid farewell to Jason Patent, Director of the Robertson Center for Intercultural Leadership, and highlight an upcoming Cal Discovery Tour opportunity with Executive Director Emeritus Joe Lurie. 

Many thanks for all of your support.


Shaun Carver, I-House Executive Director
Shaun R. Carver
Executive Director
International House, UC Berkeley

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The I-House Connection: October 2021

View from the 7th Floor Lounge. Photo by Azza Chairannisa.

Dear I-House Alumni and Friends,

As the full October moon strives to shine through the welcome rain over the I-House dome, please join me in welcoming our new Social Media Ambassador, Louise Riche. In this edition of the I-House Connection, please enjoy a short video “Glimpse of Life at I-House” and a compilation of favorite memories shared on our Global Community platform. We’d love to hear your I-House stories too, and welcome you to participate at


Shaun Carver, I-House Executive Director
Shaun R. Carver
Executive Director
International House, UC Berkeley

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Alumni Spotlight: Manuel Schulze and Torben Fischer

Happy Earth Day!

Some I-House alumni have taken the skills they learned at UC Berkeley to parts of the world where local communities are suffering due to the neglect of the environment. For this year’s Earth Day, I’d like to highlight two such alumni, Manuel Schulze (IH 2013-14) and Torben Fischer (IH 2013-14), who won a $10,000 cash grant from Davis Projects for Peace, a contest that supports grassroots projects around the world. Manuel and Torben envisioned a cleaner world when they started Recycle Up! Ghana in 2014.

I recently caught up with Manuel and Torben on Linkedin and I’m happy to report that their peace project has been a great success!

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I-House Executive Director Spotlight: Joe Lurie

International House Executive Director Emeritus Joe Lurie (IH 1988-2007) is featured in an oral history “spotlight” series, where he is interviewed by journalism graduate student Chan’Cellore Makanjuola (IH 2019-20). All four parts of the interview video are available to watch on our YouTube channel. I am pleased to announce that the audio podcast versions of the interviews are now available and linked below. 

Joe Lurie Interview in Home Room

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Joe Lurie: I-House Berkeley Through His Eyes

While International House at UC Berkeley shares a vast 90-year history, Joseph “Joe” Lurie arguably knows it the best. As its third executive director, Lurie led I-House for nearly 20 years from 1988-2007. Every room in the building has a story, even down to the details of the ceiling, and, given his extensive research of the residence, Lurie can tell you all about them.

A native New Yorker, Lurie dedicated his career to cross-cultural understanding. He was a member of the Peace Corps in Kenya in the late 1960s which sparked his interest in cross-cultural learning, something that would ultimately be conveyed through his leadership at I-House.

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