For Students

What is my role in the Friendship Family program?

Your role is to develop a relationship with your family so you can learn about U.S. society and culture through discussions and exposure to new people, places and ideas.

How long is my commitment in this program?
We ask for a commitment of one academic year. At the end of the first year, families and students are asked if they wish to continue their involvement. In most cases, students and families both find that they truly enjoy the friendship that has formed, and choose to continue.


  • Make every effort to attend when your family invites you to do something. They will understand if you can’t attend because of your studies or another commitment, but try to work out an alternative time instead of just saying ‘no’.
  • Make every effort to attend a planned activity, and be sure to notify them if you must cancel.
  • Promptly return email or phone messages left by your family.
  • Feel free to sometimes initiate the call to your family. Don’t make them always be the ones to invite you. There are many campus events (sports, concerts, plays, etc.) that don’t cost anything and that you could enjoy doing together. Especially be sure to invite them if you are a participant in any events. Families also enjoy getting a call now and then just to ‘touch base’.
  • Ask questions. You may be unsure of what to call your hosts, how to dress for an event, whether to help clean up after a meal, etc. When in doubt, ASK!! They won’t be offended, and it will help you become comfortable more quickly.
  • Be patient – all relationships take time. If your first meetings with your Friendship family feel a bit awkward, don’t worry. Once you get to know each other better, you will know what to expect and things should become much easier.


  • Expect your family to provide housing for you over breaks, give you rides to go shopping or be picked up from the airport, or to store items for you. They may offer to do this, and that’s fine, but they are under no obligation to do so.
  • Ask your family to help you with financial needs, legal matters, visa, or immigration issues, serious medical or personal problems.  Please email Emiko Oonk, Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs and International Student Life, at if you have any questions.