What is my role in the International Friendship Program?
Your role is to develop a relationship with your matched Community Volunteer 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?
IFP commitment is one academic year. Participants will be asked if they wish to optionally continue the relationship beyond the first year. In most cases, both participants find that they truly enjoy the friendship that has formed, and choose to continue.
- Make every effort to attend when invited to do something. Community members are volunteering their time to provide a wonderful exchange opportunity for you. They will understand if you can’t attend because of your studies or other commitments, but please 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.
- Feel free to initiate contact with your host from time to time. Try not make them always be the one to invite you. There are many campus events (sports, concerts, plays, etc.) that do not cost anything and are enjoyable. You may wish to invite them if you are a participant in any events and performances.
- 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 may feel a bit awkward, but 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 host 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 is 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 contact Emiko Oonk, Assistant Director for the Center for Multicultural and International Engagement, if you have any questions or concerns regarding these issues.