IHC international friends

The IHC International Friends Program matches internationals with people in the local community as friends, but the student does not live with the “host” family.

In this program, when community members befriend an international student or family, we recommend that the host contact the student IN PERSON (rather than just by email) at the start of the placement. We also suggest that you try to see your student (s) at least three times a semester, by inviting him/her/them to a family or holiday dinner and to the annual springtime potluck dinner for participants in all International Hospitality Committee programs.

Beyond that, your activities together are arranged by mutual consent. Students want to see everyday American life, so it works well when you simply include them in what you are doing anyway. They enjoy cooking with you, your cuisine or theirs, going to the kids' school events, sightseeing in the area, shopping, or sports and cultural events. Be mindful of the fact that the students are under intense academic pressure, so don't take it personally if they must refuse invitations.

We ask both the "hosts" and the students (or visiting scholars) to fill out application forms with their contact information and their hobbies and preferences. We use this information to match people with compatible interests. Anyone in the community who is interested in befriending our students is welcome to participate, regardless of age or family structure. Host registration forms are available online at the University of Illinois Office of International Student and Scholar Services website, and on paper at the ISSS reception desk annually from mid August through October 31*. 

*NOTE:The registration period for this semester is over.  Check back again next semester to register for the International Friends Program.


If you would like to help IHC with the matching of international students, scholars and their families with local individuals or families, please visit Volunteer Opportunities.

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