International Friends

We’d like to invite you to expand your horizons by befriending an international student. There is more to education than lectures, textbooks, and term papers.  Students say that some of the most rewarding life experiences in America occur outside of their classrooms and research labs. Liu Feng, past president of the Chinese Student and Scholar Association, shared the following:

I would like to thank the Rolla community. As visiting Chinese students, we face many difficulties when we are studying in the US, not only in our studies but also in our lives. Your community is so nice to us and so many people are happy to be our ‘host families.’ You always help us overcome all kinds of problems, especially the language. Most Chinese students improve their English after finding a friend in the community. We greatly appreciate your help and we are pleased to be friends with you.”

- Liu Feng, past president of the Chinese Student and Scholar Association  

Missouri University of Science and Technology’s Office of International Affairs is pleased to sponsor the International Friends Program.  Through participation in this program, members of the community are matched with one or more international students.  You can encourage their participation in local activities, invite them to your home, and discuss American customs and culture. In addition to sharing your culture, you will have the opportunity to learn about their culture and viewpoints. Participating families and individuals serve as important community volunteers, representing not only the community but the United States.

Community friends can help international students understand the American way of life.  As a friend, you might offer some practical assistance in shopping, dining at a local restaurant, explaining holidays and customs, and many other practical things. Participants generally meet at least once a month in local homes or at special community functions.  However, the time commitment is the amount of time that you and your student choose to make.  There is no charge to participate in the International Friends Program, nor is there an expectation for you to provide financial assistance to students.

If you would like to participate in the International Friends Program or learn more about it, please complete the questionnaire. Please mail completed applications to the Office of International and Cultural Affairs, 105 SWBCC, 1207 N. Elm, Missouri S&T, Rolla, MO 65409, Attn: Richard Myers or by email to myersj@mst.edu with the subject of International Friends by noon on Friday, November 3, 2017.

Upon receiving your formal statement of interest and completed questionnaire, we will send follow-up information by email regarding the program and the upcoming International Friends Program reception that will be held on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, from 5:30 pm until 6:30 pm in the Southwestern Bell Cultural Center located at 1207 N. Elm St., Rolla, MO 65401. You can mail the completed application to the Office of International and Cultural Affairs, 105 SWBCC, 1207 N. Elm, Missouri S&T, Rolla, MO 65409, Attn: Richard Myers or by email to myersrj@mst.edu with the subject of International Friends.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Richie Myers
Student Program Administrator for Cultural Events
Office of International & Cultural Affairs

Application

Applications for both international students and the community friend(s) and family are downloadable. Please see the links below:

Frequently Asked Questions

It is an opportunity for you to meet an international student, to exchange cultural information, and to be a friend. You might invite the student to your home to share special events. For example: local events, a wedding, Sunday dinner, a birthday celebration, or holiday parties.  Students want to learn about American culture and meet people in the community.

We are continually developing lists of families and individuals willing to serve as community friends; likewise, we encourage all newly arrived international students to apply for participation in this activity.  We examine questionnaires completed by both parties, then make student/family assignments.  Every attempt will be made to meet your requests.  Let us know if you have a preference or if you will only host student(s) from the country you request.  If you’ve “adopted” an international student, but haven’t signed up for the program, please submit an application and let us know you already have an international student.  We’d like to add you to our contact list so that we can invite you to special events hosted by our office.

No, we encourage all members of our community to participate, so that students will have a chance to experience the variety of American home experiences.

If it is possible, we will attempt to make the match requested.  Please let us know if you have a preference, or if you will only host a student(s) from the country you requested.  Remember that our largest international student populations are from India, China, and Saudi Arabia, and that often our student participation is linked proportionally to our student population.

The answer is easy—as much time as you and your student(s) have available for this program: every other week, once a month, or every other month.

Again, this is your option. We’ll accept whatever length of commitment you choose to make.  Most families maintain the relationship while the student remains at S&T (and even beyond); some wish to retain the relationship for a specific period.

The International Affairs office will try to determine if there are any restrictions for the student’s diet. This information will be given to you.

As part of this program, International Affairs is distributing brochures that address this issue to all participants. We have information for both the student and community member that discusses cultural issues, expectations, and common courtesies.

International Affairs will do its best to monitor the program.  If you have any problems, we would appreciate hearing about it.  If you and your student prove to be incompatible, a new student can be assigned to you.

Yes, you set the rules for your house.  For example, if you specify “no smoking” on the “comments” line of the questionnaire, every attempt would be made to match you with a non-smoker.  In addition, the NAFSA brochure will provide suggestions for discussing “do’s and don’ts” in the home.

We are receiving applications from students and community members throughout the year.  The office of International Affairs will host a reception in the Fall semester for all participants at the SWBCC, 1207 N. Elm, Rolla Mo.  This is the time that most International Friends will be paired up together.