COVID-19 Executive Director's Update

April 21, 2020

The Board of Directors, senior team, and staff of International House at UC Berkeley remain committed to keeping I-House open and available for the residential and dining needs of our diverse community of residents for as long as operationally feasible and safe from a public health standpoint.  I write to you today to provide an update on the status of I-House operations, but first wish to express gratitude for all of the expressions of support from you, our alumni and friends throughout the world.  

As the situation surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve rapidly, I encourage you to visit our website regularly: for current updates and information on mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 here at I-House, and responses to frequently asked questions(link is external) (FAQs). UC Berkeley updates may be found at is external)

I-House is now operating at roughly one-third capacity as of late April 2020. The lower occupancy will persist for an unknown time period now that the University has moved to all remote course provision, and vaccines and therapeutics for the virus are still under development.  In support of its residents, I-House has waived housing contract cancellation fees and has accelerated reimbursements for the approximately four hundred residents who have left the house. These uncertain times have been especially challenging for low-income and international students who are unable or who can’t afford to return home and our top priority has been to continue serving these individuals well.

I-House dining and catering operations continue to serve residents who remain, while all events and conferences including our annual Awards Celebration and Gala have been cancelled, and visits to the house for public and alumni tours and meetings have ceased. Future event bookings are not being made at this time, although I-House plans on continued operations for the summer and has just announced the application process for Summer Financial Aid.  A number of staff are working remotely on a temporary basis, others are on paid administrative leave, while many front-line resident facing staff continue to work diligently and safely within the House.

Once again, I would like to reiterate that we are most grateful for the tremendous messages of support being conveyed by the extended I-House global community in support of our efforts to foster fellowship, cultivate community, and grow leaders. Through these uncertain times, we wish you and your family health and safety.


Hans C. Giesecke, Ph.D.

Hans Giesecke signature

Executive Director
International House, UC Berkeley

See message from March 18, 2020: COVID-19 Executive Director's Message