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English Programs for Internationals

Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI)

The Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders is a program of the U.S. Department of State and Bureau of Educational Cultural Affairs administered in partnership with FHI 360. The SUSI program at USC is focused on Civic Engagement. 

Program Description

During the program, students engage in a variety of activities. Interactive sessions designed to give students working knowledge of topics related to the theme of the week are followed by talks given by expert speakers. The themes include U.S. Democracy and Civic Engagement, Human Rights and Diversity in the U.S., U.S. Institutions and Community Leadership, and U.S. and European Issues. Additionally, students take part in several hands-on service activities designed to provide them with first-hand experience with volunteerism in the U.S. Local visits to various attractions and institutions expose students to the history and culture of the U.S. South. All activities have been designed to equip students with the knowledge of and experience with civic engagement that will help them to become future leaders of their home communities and countries.  

What is Civic Engagement?

There are many ways to define "civic engagement. One concise definition is: 

"Civic Participation:  Individual and collective actions designed to address public issues through the institutions of civil society.” “Political Awareness:  Cognitive, attitudinal and affective involvement in the polity.” “Civic Engagement:  The combination of Civic Awareness and Civic Participation.”


- Michael Delli Carpini, Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication

iPads - Each SUSI student has free access to an iPad throughout their stay at the University of South Carolina. 

WiFi - Free WiFi is available across the campus including in students' residency hall and classrooms. 

Computer Labs - Students have access to the computer labs where their classes will take place. 

USC’s Blackboard application hosts a lot of very important information such as: 

  • SUSI Syllabus 
  • SUSI Calendar  
  • SUSI Advance Readings 

During their stay here at the University of South Carolina, SUSI students are housed in the East Quad residence hall, which is conveniently located on campus. East Quad has apartment-style housing. Each student has his or her own bedroom with 3 to 4 students in each apartment. Each apartment has 2 full bathrooms and a shared living room and kitchen. Linens, kitchen ware and a television are provided in each apartment. Students all have access to free WiFi in their apartments. The building is only accessible to students and staff. 

In the event of an extremely serious emergency (i.e., life or death situation): 

  • Dial 911 – This will take you to a person who can accurately and quickly get you the help you need. 
  • If you do not have phone service but you do have Wifi service, contact Chris Reid through WhatsApp. 

In the event of a serious, but non-life-threating, emergency: 

  • Call Chris Reid at 803-777-4802. Alternatively, you may contact him through WhatsApp. 
  • If you cannot immediately reach them and you are on or near campus, call USCPD at 803-777-4215 or the City of Columbia Police at 803-545-3500. 

Emergency Posts 
Throughout campus, there are emergency call boxes. If you are in danger or feel threatened, push the blue button and the USC Police Department will be alerted and an operator will be able to speak to you directly through the call box. 

Living in Columbia 
There are endless activities and sights in Columbia and South Carolina. International Student Services has a variety of resources to help answer any questions you may have.  

SUSI Facebook Group (link)

University of South Carolina Student Code of Conduct [pdf]  


Faculty & Ambassadors

Mark Porter

Director, English Programs for Internationals & Executive/Academic Director, SUSI Institute in Civic Engagement 

Close – Hipp, Suite 426 
Office: (803 )777-2882 
Mobile: (803 )206-3004 

Mark is the Director of University of South Carolina English Programs for Internationals. He had been the Associate Director since 1992. A specialist in academic writing, GRE preparation and oral assessment, Mark is a former member-at-large for the TESOL International Intensive English Program Special Interest Section. In addition to his professional pursuits, Mark is a beekeeper, and his bees produce some of the finest honey in Columbia, SC. 

Lillian Ortega-Bunch 

Asst. Director, English Programs for Internationals & Administrative Coordinator, SUSI Institute in Civic Engagement 

Close – Hipp, Suite 424 

Lilian is the Assistant Director of University of South Carolina English Programs for Internationals, where she has also served as an office manager, instructor, and special projects assistant coordinator. A native of Mexico, she taught English as a foreign language for over fifteen years before relocating to the United States. She has a passion for serving international students and learning about other cultures. She enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her husband and their poodle, Bella. 

Chris Reid 

Assistant Director for Retention and Integration Services, International Student Services & Administrative Coordinator, SUSI Institute in Civic Engagement 

Close – Hipp, Suite 478 

Christopher Reid is Assistant Director for the office of International Student Services at the University of South Carolina. Mr. Reid serves as a DSO and coordinates student programming for the ISS office. He oversees the student services for EPI and assists with supporting students in the university's International Accelerator Program (IAP). He worked for several years in numerous capacities with Columbia's resettled refugee population, and from 2012-2015, Chris lived in Tanzania doing grassroots development work. He earned his MSW in 2009. 


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