International Student Residence

Every year, roughly 1,500 international graduate students attend Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Many arrive without local connections to help them get settled. They may not be familiar with everyday life skills, such as how to use American laundry machines or open bank accounts. Global Friendship House is conceived as a "home away from home" for these students, who number among the best and brightest in their home countries. The project is the result of an eight-year fundraising campaign among churches, businesses, and private individuals devoted to the vision of a student residence that goes beyond a place to live and study to foster new relationships and help with practical, personal, and spiritual needs. 

The three-story building offers 38 single and double occupancy rooms for 60 men and women from countries including China, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Botswana, Nepal, Cameroon, Sri Lanka, Georgia and others. Twenty percent of the residents will be from the U.S. so that international students also make American connections. The House's first floor offers a spacious lobby/living room with fireplace, a small group meeting room, a large multi-purpose room with a catering kitchen for programming events, two staff offices and a residence director apartment.  Each of the upper floors contains student rooms, two study rooms, two community washrooms and a communal kitchen with cooking and laundry facilities. Natural light and welcoming outdoor spaces connect students with the environment beyond the House itself.

“The team working with the future world leaders studying at ODU, the students themselves, and the broader Hampton Roads community who have now seen our new design are so energized and motivated to see the completion of the Global Friendship House!”

Kathy Hardison, Director of Global Friendship Ventures

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