Vaniesha Baynard, Kat Moser, Eleni Connors and Steffi Ruseva (from left to right in the photo) are each a part of the staff at the Columbus International Program (CIP), a non-profit organization that has been serving the Columbus area for 45 years.

Vaniesha Baynard, Kat Moser, Eleni Connors and Steffi Ruseva (from left to right in the photo) are each a part of the staff at the Columbus International Program (CIP), a non-profit organization that has been serving the Columbus area for 45 years, with a mission of “Promoting International Understanding through Intercultural Exchange.” CIP will be hosting a Somali Community Engagement Night and dinner on Thursday, Jan. 26 at Hoyo's Kitchen, with the aim of creating dialogue between diverse groups in our community. Here are some of CIP's favorite things.

Columbus

Columbus is a great city for entrepreneurship. There are so many agencies that are much needed service providers who help those that are new to our city navigate and feel comfortable here. Columbus is a great place to meet new people and forge relationships, as its people are warm and welcoming. Social enterprise organizations are another thing that we love about this city — there are amazing opportunities here!

Food Trucks

We've got international flavor on wheels every few miles in the city, and it's fabulous. They are a great way to start a restaurant and a great way to be an entrepreneur. Kat's favorite food truck is the Los Potosinos truck. They cook the chicken on the grill outside next to the Lincoln Theatre in the King-Lincoln district. You can even call ahead for pickup orders. It just doesn't get any easier!

International Exchange

For the last 45 years, the Columbus International Program has brought over 1,200 individuals from all over the world to our city. We love meeting our international friends and sharing Columbus with them. It is amazing to watch them explore while they are here, and flourish at their training sites (local businesses of all varieties), making life-long business and personal connections. We learn so much about new and unique cultures from our international guests.

Mozart's Bakery and Piano Café

For the last 3 years, we have worked closely with Anand and Janelle at Mozart's to host our annual event, the International Taste of Columbus. Mozart's is a beautiful space for our event, with amazing Sangria and desserts that our guests are big fans of year after year. The atmosphere is perfect for sharing food from all over the city with our friends and members at the event each August.

Our Host Families

We cannot thank the wonderful people in this community who open their homes to our international guests enough. The hosting experience is one that is so meaningful to each participant we bring, as they get the chance to learn what life is like here in Columbus. We love seeing lasting and organic relationships form between our host families and their guests, and are always looking for new families to join our international community.