International Friendship Families
International Friendship Families (IFF) is a cross-cultural mentorship program developed by the Center for International Programs (CIP). IFF gives new international students the opportunity to acquaint themselves with University of Dayton (UD) faculty and staff. This exchange is facilitated through groups known as International Friendship Families. International Friendship Families consist of a faculty or staff member and his or her immediate family.
International Friendship Families help international students adjust to life in the United States and at the University of Dayton through occasional visits to Friendship Families’ homes, participation in campus and local events, and participation in IFF-sponsored events. Faculty and staff who wish to support international students’ cultural and social integration on a deeper level will find that IFF provides a structure to do so but with more flexibility and less obligation than a traditional host family program.
How does it work?
Friendship Families and their students are asked to abide by a few simple guidelines. These guidelines ensure that all participants have a uniform and pleasant experience. Outside of this framework, students and families arrange on their own to spend time together as often as desired. Friendship Families may include their student in informal dinners, holiday celebrations, outings, or other events that add to the richness of the student’s American experience. Students, in turn, are encouraged to invite their Friendship Families to events meaningful to them.
How long is the commitment?
One semester and renewable. We envision the program refreshing each semester with each arrival of new international students. Families are only expected to commit to mentoring a student for one semester, but may sign on for additional semesters as they are able to make that commitment.
Do I have any say in who I am paired with?
Because this is the first year of the program, it is difficult to anticipate demand on either side. In your application, you may indicate your preference for gender, academic program, and other criteria. We will do our best to pair you with someone who meets your preferences. Please understand that depending on demand and the demographics of the incoming class we may not be able to satisfy your request.
What are the expectations for students and families?
We envision Friendship Families and students sharing meals, holidays, and occasional outings together. As a Friendship Family, you will have the opportunity to positively impact the life of an international student by enriching his or her experience. To provide structure to the program, families agree to:
- Mentor one or two students.
- Serve at least one semester. (Fall: August to December; Spring: January to May; Summer: May to August)
- Attend an orientation session in early December.
- Attend the welcome reception. You will meet your student for the first time here. Lunch will be provided.
- Invite your student to at least one on-campus activity (e.g. Arts Series, UD Speaker Series, workshops, performances)
- Invite your student to at least one traditional American holiday celebration (e.g. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Super Bowl party, Easter, etc.)
- Attend the end-of-semester party in mid-April.
Families are not expected to provide housing, transportation, or financial assistance. They are also not expected to offer tutoring or other academic support. Please refer these issues to the CIP or relevant offices.
To ensure that you and your Friendship Family have a pleasant experience, please remember the following:
- You must attend the welcome reception. You will meet your Friendship Family for the first time here. Lunch will be provided.
- Your Friendship Family cannot provide housing or assistance with financial, academic, transportation, or medical problems. Visit the Center for International Programs or the relevant office for assistance.
- Your Friendship Family will invite you to participate in events and activities that will help you learn more about American culture. You are encouraged to invite your Friendship Family to activities that are important to you as well.
- You must pay for yourself for activities that you participate in with your Friendship Family.
- You will be paired with one Friendship Family for one semester.
- You must attend the end-of-semester party in mid-April.
How do I apply?
The deadline to apply to be a Friendship Family for Spring 2014 is December 9, 2013.
Who do I contact with questions?
Contact the International Student and Scholar Services office at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.