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.
- 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.
- International Friendship Program participant handbook
- Frequently asked questions for American volunteers
Applications are accepted around the start of each fall and spring semester.