International Friends

Students say some of the most rewarding life experiences occur outside the classrooms and labs.

We invite you to expand your horizons by befriending an international student through the International Friends Program. There is more to education than lectures, textbooks, and term papers.  

 " I've enjoyed meeting and getting to know Ran. We have had fun during the time we have spent together."

- Patti Fleck, Ph.D., Director, Counseling Services

How to Participate

Missouri S&T’s Office of International Affairs is pleased to host the International Friends Program. This program offers international students the opportunity to make friends in the local community, participate in social activities, and learn more about American customs and culture. Participating students are matched with a volunteer “community friend” who wants to share their culture and learn about the student’s culture and viewpoints. Community friends may be local families, individuals, or Missouri S&T students.

Community friends can help international students understand the American way of life. Your assigned friend might offer practical assistance in shopping, attending community events, and other helpful things. Participants generally meet at least once a month in local homes or at special community functions. However, this year, all participants should follow CDC guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Consider alternate activities such as Zoom game night or a socially distanced walk in the park instead.  

There is no charge to participate in the International Friends program. All participants (students and community friends) are volunteers and are not paid for their services, time, or expenses. Applications will be considered in the order they are received. Although every effort will be made to place applicants, all applicants may not be matched due to placement limitations.

To participate, complete the application below and return it to Richie Myers at Applications are due October 30, 2020.

Participants who are matched will receive an invitation to the virtual International Friends reception on Thursday, November 12, from 5:30 - 6:30 pm.

If you have questions, please contact Richie Myers at (573) 341-4335 or email

Join Nader Zeen Udden as he reflects on his experience in the International Friends program.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

We are continually developing lists of families and individuals willing to serve as community friends. Likewise, we encourage all new international students to apply for participation in this program. 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.

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.

We will attempt to make the match requested, but depending on where participants are from, it is not always possible. Remember that our largest international student populations are from India, China, Saudi Arabia, and that often our student participation is linked proportionally to our student population. Please let us know on your application if you are only able to host a student from a specific country.

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.

This is your option. We will 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 maintain the relationship for a specific period.

We will do our best to determine if the student has special dietary restrictions, but please talk directly with your student about this before offering meals.

The Office of International Affairs can provide information to both parties regarding cultural issues, expectations, and common courtesies.

The Office of 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 will be made to match you with a non-smoker. 

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 Southwestern Bell Cultural Center, 1207 North Elm St., Rolla, MO, 65401.