International Friendship Program

An estimated 80 percent of international students never set foot in an American home while visiting the United States. This program aims to change that statistic one student at a time by connecting international students with MU community members.

International undergraduate and graduate students are matched with local American volunteers to facilitate cross-cultural relationships. The program provides international students in their first semester at MU with a more intimate and authentic experience of American culture. In return, American volunteers learn about another country and culture, develop cross-cultural competencies and help foster a global community at Mizzou.

Program objectives

  • Foster positive intercultural relationships between new international students and MU community members.
  • Help international students learn more about and adjust to American culture.
  • Provide important social support for and extend hospitality to international students during their initial adjustment to life in America.
  • Supplement the International Center’s support services programs for international students (immigration advising, document processing, orientation, etc.).
  • Offer all students an opportunity to learn about new cultures and how to communicate in a diverse society.
  • Encourage American students to study abroad to gain additional cross-cultural understanding and new perspectives.
  • Raise international awareness, promote international education and contribute to the university’s comprehensive internationalization efforts.
  • Give student participants a place to fit into the international community as engagement in extracurricular activities increases student retention rates.

Expectations of friendship partners

  • Meet at least once per month. More meetings are highly encouraged.
  • Attend International Friendship Program events.
  • Attend International Programs events as time allows.
  • Acknowledge the NAFSA Code of Ethics.
  • Refer concerns or issues to the International Center.

Benefits of international friendships

  • Expand social support networks.
  • Enhance the sense of community and belonging.
  • Ease the impact of culture shock.
  • Increase cross-cultural competency and understanding.
  • Develop appreciation for different countries.

Program resources

Applications are accepted around the start of each fall and spring semester.