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Intercultural Office

Friendship Family Program - FAQs for Families



What is the purpose of the Friendship Family program?

The purpose of the program is to set students up with a "friendship family," and then let the relationship develop organically. We want the program to be exactly what the name implies—a family close by that can serve as a friend, providing support to students while they are far away from their own families.


What are the expectations for being a Friendship Family?

There should be a mutual understanding of the expectations between you and the student, and what each of you want to gain from this experience. So, it is helpful if you discuss these expectations when you meet each other for the first time. These expectations can include how often you want to meet, how you will keep in contact, and how you will keep each other involved.


What should we do for a first-time get together?

An easy ice-breaker is to go for coffee, tea, or a meal on campus.


How often should I connect with my/our student(s)?

Throughout the semester you can keep in touch by sending them cards, care packages, or emails to see how they are doing, and letting them know you are for them.


Do I have to provide transportation fo my student(s)?

If it is convenient for you, offering to take your student to the grocery store or shopping can be helpful. Offering to provide transportation for them to and from Harrisburg airport or the bus/train station downtown, before and after breaks, is also encouraged.


Can I invite my student(s) to my house or take them off campus?

Once your relationship has developed, feel free to extend invitations to your student to do things off campus like having them over for dinner, or if appropriate and you are willing, let them stay over during breaks if accomadation is needed and you are able to provide it. (Please understand that you are not required or expected to do this.)


Some other things to consider:

Be aware of cultural differences, and be sure to ask questions if you are unsure about differences. If any issues arise or you have any concerns about the program, please do not hesitate to let Kevin Villegas (Director of International Student Programs) know immediately.


Things to do with your student(s):

Activities on Campus

Sports events


Coffee/tea or lunch together

Yellow Breeches tubing and canoeing




Zoo America

Visit Harrisburg, historical Gettysburg, take a trip to Lancaster

Appalachian trail for hiking

Community parks

Farmer's markets or go apple picking



Civil War Museum

The Whitaker Center

Family gatherings

Cook meals together from home countries

Holiday festivities

Pennsylvania Farmshow (January)


Silver Spring Square

Capital City Mall

Outlets at Hershey or Gettysburg

Tanger Outlets


Annual Events

International Education Week Festival (usually in November each year)

International Banquet (usually in April each year)


Applying to the Program

Friendship Family Application - For Families (Online Form)