Overview of the Program
International Friends Program is an organization coordinated by the International Programming Coordinator. It is a social support system for international students and it comprises of faculty, staff, American students, and local community members, and they all share the same goal of providing emotional as well as practical support for international students.
International Friend Program has monthly coffee hours that take place at Erickson Alumni Center and also it typically coordinates a one-day outing to a state park in or near the Marion County during the summer time. There will be also additional social activities throughout the year.
Through the various social occasions, International Programming Coordinator facilitates the linkage between individual international students and supportive faculty/staff/community members and American students, based on the international students’ needs and interests and also based on the availability of the support members (faculty/staff/community members/American students).
The types of the linkage between international students and support members may vary from 1) mentorship (if faculty and international students) to 2) cultural exchange partners (if American students and international students) or 3) host family (if community members and international students). Once these linkages are established, international students and support members are expected to meet up frequently to enjoy the cultural exchange and also fulfilling the various support needs.
Throughout the supportive relationships established through the International Friends program, international students can expect to fulfill the following needs and interests:
- To have a cultural exchange partner
- To have a supportive non-academic advisor (faculty or staff persons) who is familiar with the school system and provide the guidance through your adjustment to campus life
- To have a friend who can help you with some of the practical needs (e.g., arrangement for a ride for grocery shopping)
- To have a host family who will occasionally invite you to the family’s activities (e.g., dinner, seasonal celebration, other social, etc.) and help you feel welcomed by the local community and help you feel connected to the community
- To be able to stay at a local family’s homes during the short breaks, such as, Thanksgiving Break or Spring Break.