uilocal urban teams




Every year international students travel to the United States for one reason or another, some to experience American culture, learn or improve their English skills. Whatever their goal in mind is, they all come hoping for a positive experience. And here is where the problem begins. Unexpected, these international students are often overlooked and marginalized in our society and thus struggle with practicing their English skills and having a cross-cultural experience. Unfamiliar to their surroundings, they stick with friends from similar nationalities and deprive themselves of a fully meaningful experience.  

Away from home these students are more open to explore interfaith and interpersonal dialogue as they discover who they are in another country. Oftentimes they are dealing with home-sickness or loneliness and are open to deeper friendships. At the Conversation Café, we can come alongside them and engage them in real conversations about religion, cultural and moral traditions and ultimately through friendship evangelism point them to the love of Jesus Christ.

Each year there are over 3000 international students from over 60 countries in Santa Barbara. Of these countries, the majority that come to the Café are from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Brazil and Japan. Some other countries also represented are Qatar, Jordan, China, Korea, Russia, Italy, Sweden, Venezuela, and Czech Republic.


Once a week, our Café Team and volunteers interact and communicate with international students in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. We serve snacks and coffee from local businesses. We share experiences from our American culture and inquire about the traditions from each of the countries represented through mixer games and activities. By doing this, we participate in language exchange and encourage English conversations. Click here for more information on how to join us each week at the cafe'.


Team Leader: Sophia Gigliotti
Email: sgigliotti@westmont.edu