01. Arrival Assistance

The Arrival Assistance Program is available to all internationals arriving in Columbia, SC.

*Due to limited resources, this service is only available the first time you arrive in Columbia.

CCFI volunteers meet arriving internationals at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) or Columbia Bus Stations and transport them to their temporary or permanent living arrangements.

This is a completely free, volunteer-based service aimed at making your first time arrival comfortable, safe, and affordable.

Our drivers have studied, lived, worked, volunteered, and traveled abroad, so they understand how you will feel when you first arrive.

Your CCFI Volunteer Driver can:

  • Meet you at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) or Bus Station

  • Take you to your housing or other local destination

  • Provide you with information about Columbia

Who is eligible for Arrival Assistance?

International students and visitors arriving in Columbia, SC for the very first time.


When to Apply:

Apply as soon as your travel plans are known, and if possible, at least a week before your arrival in Columbia, SC.

CCFI cannot guarantee assistance for applications received less than a week before arrival.

Arriving outside of Columbia?

At this time, CCFI cannot provide transportation if you are arriving at an airport or bus station outside of the Columbia area, but we have provided some useful links below about how to get to Columbia by bus or car:

Bus: Greyhound, Southeastern Stages, MegaBus

Car: Uber, Lyft

Taxi: Taxis are also available at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. The pick-up area is located on the lower level of the terminal, to the left of the rental car counters. Transportation to local universities costs about $30.


.02 Community Friends

The Community Friends Program helps connect international students and visitors with Midlands American families.

It is a great way to make all international visitors feel welcomed, accepted and valued and to help international visitors transition to their new surroundings.  It is also a great way to learn about and share each other’s traditions and culture. 

These connections are made in many ways.  Community friends may invite the International visitor(s) to participate in an individual or group event such as coffee, dinner or cookout. 

They may host the international visitor at a cultural event or local tourist attraction.  These connections may be a one-time event or participants may choose to schedule further interactions based on mutual desires and interests. 

It is truly rewarding for both American families and internationals and many lifelong friendships have been made in this program.


Watch for announcement of our next event!

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03. Palmetto Council for International Visitors (PCIV)

The Palmetto Council for International Visitors (PCIV) is a committee of the Columbia Council for Internationals (CCFI) and the Columbia World Affairs Council (CWAC) that is designated by the U.S. State Department as the Midlands affiliate to receive visitors under the GlobalTies/USA Program. 

CCFI is a non-profit, non-partisan, all-volunteer group organized in 1965 to offer assistance to college and university students and profesionals who visit the Columbia Metro area from foreign countries. The CCFI is officially recognized by the University of South Carolina to offer support services to international students.

CWAC is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization organization founded in 1993 that serves as the bridge between Columbia, South Carolina and its global counterparts. CWAC is a member of the national World Affairs Councils of America network and also administers the Sister City relations for the city of Columbia.

In recent years, South Carolina has experienced rapid growth in its international politics, culture, and business. Devoted to promoting global understanding and international relationships, PCIV and its joint venture partner, CWAC, offer a wide range of resources, cross-cultural exchanges, and benefits that allow for international visitors to have valuable and lasting experiences during their stay in the United States.