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International Community

Culturally Diverse, Globally Connected

Home to more than 507 international companies representing 38 countries, Upstate SC is a growing multicultural hub.

From our expanding selection of international cuisines to community institutions like Upstate International, a non-profit dedicated to empowering people and businesses of all nations to thrive in the Upstate, it’s a welcoming and richly cultured place to live and work.

Our international diversity brings unexpected experiences like hearing the chatter of several different languages on local hiking trails and the ability to stumble upon a new cuisine or celebration at any turn. Plus, with three international airports within three hours, you can easily connect to new places and cultures firsthand. Read more about our growing international community below.

ZF Flags, Lauren, SC

Facts + Figures

7.7%

of Upstate SC's population speaks a language other than English at home.

507

INTERNATIONAL COMPANIES CALL UPSTATE SC HOME

25

INTERNATIONAL CUISINES AT UPSTATE SC RESTAURANTS AND GROCERIES

45+

LANGUAGE AND CULTURAL GROUPS FOR UPSTATE SC RESIDENTS AND EXPATS

  • International Companies
  • Resources + Events
  • International Schools
  • International Cuisine

A Hub for Foreign Direct Investment

You might be surprised to learn just how international Upstate SC and South Carolina are, but according to the numbers, it’s clear. South Carolina has ranked No. 1 in the nation for attracting jobs through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) per capita for three of the last five years.

Upstate South Carolina is home to 507 international companies, including major operations of France-based Michelin, Germany-based BMW, Bosch, ZF and Adidas, and Japan-based Fujifilm and Toray. This translates to a very active international business community and jobs with opportunities to travel and work with a diverse group of colleagues.

The Upstate SC Alliance provides resources to help international companies locate and expand in the region, and spearheads the Global Cities Initiative to develop the practical knowledge, policy ideas and networks needed to become more globally connected and competitive.

International Resources and Events

Upstate South Carolina’s international community extends beyond our thriving global economy to include culture, language and resource groups and events for international residents. Among these resources is Upstate International, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources for Upstate SC’s international community, including language classes, conversation and book clubs, events like the monthly Salsa at Sunset, and relocation services. Upstate International also spearheads the World Affairs Council Upstate (WACU), the Upstate SC branch of the largest non-profit grassroots organization in the U.S. dedicated to educating and engaging Americans on global issues. WACU offers a monthly lecture series and events to educate Upstate residents on current global issues. Browse just a sampling of our other resources, groups and events below.

International Organizations

Festivals

Religious Organizations

Bilingual and Cultural Education

Upstate South Carolina is home to several traditional and supplementary schools for residents interested in learning native or new languages and cultures. In addition, Clemson University maintains connections to industry leaders throughout the world through the Office of Global Engagement.

  • Chinese Immersion Public Charter School: East Link Academy is the Upstate’s premier Chinese immersion public school. This non-profit school is free of charge and aims to provide rigorous education in math, science, social studies and language arts in a bilingual English-Chinese environment.
  • Ecole Francaise Bilingue: Created by Michelin in 1974, the Bilingual French School is accredited by the French Ministry of Education and provides educational opportunities for grades 9-12 with classes taught in French.
  • German School Upstate SC: This parent-run non-profit provides cultural and language training for German and American students preparing for the Advanced Placement German test.
  • German for Native Speakers Program: Housed at the Chris Church Episcopal School (CCES), this native German language program began in 1995 and incorporates German into CCES’ daily school schedule. CCES is accredited by the Bavarian Ministry of Education and Culture and is the only school outside of Germany to receive this accreditation.
  • Greenville Chinese School: Supplementary Chinese culture and language classes for children and adults are held weekly on Sundays through the Greenville Chinese School.
  • Greenville Japanese School: The Greenville Saturday School (GSS) for Japanese language and culture provides supplementary education for children and their parents to build appreciation for Japanese culture and history, as well as to acclimate to American society and cultivate an international sense.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Program: Housed at local public and private schools, the IB Program is seen worldwide as a superior secondary education. With an emphasis on foreign language fluency and fully developing the complete student, the IB program in Greenville is one of a kind in the Upstate.

Food from Around the Globe

Upstate South Carolina is home to a top-ranked culinary scene, which includes a variety of international cuisine options. From fresh pasta at the modern Italian Jianna to Belgian beer and hearty bites at The Trappe Door to the exquisite sushi at Miyako, Upstate SC restaurants will satisfy your culinary wanderlust. You’ll also find an international twist on Southern flavors at places like Willys Taco Want to try something a little more adventurous? Sample Afghani dishes at Aryana, or experience the unique fusion of Thai and French flavors at Le Spice.

Upstate SC’s restaurants and grocery stores represent about 25 different international cuisines, including:

  • Restaurants: Afghani, Belgian, Chinese, Colombian, Dutch, El Salvadorian, French, German, Greek, Indian, Irish, Italian, Jamaican, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Persian, Peruvian, Thai and Vietnamese.
  • Grocery Stores: Asian, Indian, European, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Middle Eastern and Vietnamese.

To learn more about Upstate SC’s culinary offerings, check out our food scene.

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