Build Lasting Friendships

A Typical Year

At the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, we host a welcome lunch to tell new international students about our program and invite them to sign up. We then invite community hosts to select students using an online host-student matching database.

Students are invited to get together once a month or more with their hosts. Activities can range from special events (holiday celebrations, sightseeing trips, hiking outings, etc.) to everyday activities like shopping and dining out. Students sometimes visit hosts' homes to prepare foods native to their homeland.

While the program officially ends after the first academic year, lifelong friendships and connections are often formed with students and their families back home. Many of us have found our lives immeasurably enriched by our friendships with young people from around the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • STUDENTS - Any non-immigrant student enrolled at the University of Arizona may choose to participate. Preference is given to students in their first year of study.
  • FRIENDSHIP PARTNERS (HOSTS) - Anyone in the Tucson area who is interested in international friendship and is willing to exchange customs and ideas with a student can participate.
  • To become better acquainted with Americans on a personal basis
  • To learn about our many cultures and way of life
  • To share their own culture with others
  • To participate in the life of the Tucson community
  • To develop an appreciation for other countries and cultures
  • To introduce their children to other cultures and geography
  • To help ease the adjustment of newly arrived students

International Friends has a governing body, the Board of Directors, composed of past and present hosts, graduate and undergraduate students and a representative from International Student Services.

Group activities and other items of interest are communicated through the International Friends newsletter, emails, telephone calls and our website.

  • Contact student(s) within one week of assignment. Students are most eager to meet hosts and get acquainted!
  • Continue monthly contact the first year the student is here. Plan to have a meal together, participate in community events, go sightseeing, attend International Friends activities, or just share coffee and conversation!
  • Participate as often as possible in International Friends group activities.
  • Contact your host within one week of assignment if you have not yet heard from them.
  • Invite your host to share a special time of celebration with you and your friends, or just invite them for coffee.
  • Share information about your country, family, and traditions.
  • If you find you do not have time to participate in the program or do not wish to continue for any reason, please notify International Student Services.
  • Positions on the Board of Directors and Committees such as Fund-Raising, Hospitality, and Public Relations
  • Hosts for welcome dinners for small groups of arriving students
  • Assistants for luncheons, picnics, and other events
  • Providing food for special events

There is no fee associated with the organization. Costs of meals or activities sponsored by the host would be at the host‘s expense, unless previously agreed upon by the student.

Yes, several Tucson International Friends host two or three students and some even host up to seven or eight. It depends on your ability to provide quality time.

See Your World With Fresh Eyes

International students describe International Friends as an invaluable asset for learning about American life outside of the academic environment. Tucson citizens who have hosted students have discovered the world at their doorstep! They "will never watch the evening news in the same way again."

Our students are the future leaders in their fields in their respective countries. The goodwill generated by this relationship will affect both students and hosts for the rest of their lives.

Apply To Host

How Hosting Works

Students are assigned to hosts for a period of one year, as long as it is mutually satisfying. Although the relationships may continue well beyond the year, we hope hosts will make themselves available to other first year students in upcoming years.

Any student queries regarding the following should be referred to the office of International Student Services:

  • Employment instructions
  • Immigration and visa issues
  • Academic problems with professors, advisors and administrators
  • Financial problems
  • Major medical problems

Read Our Guiding Principles

What Our Hosts Say...

“Serving as a host with International Friends has enriched my life and broadened my horizons immeasurably. It is a real joy to interact with bright, energetic young people from widely divergent cultures and to learn firsthand about the fascinating world we live in.”

Robert Woerner, Host

“We have been involved with hosting international students for about 15 years. It has been such a fun and enriching time for us that I can’t imagine why everyone would not want to participate in the experience!"

Deanne & Bill Lesley, Hosts

“We are relatively new to International Friends and enjoying it tremendously. Our Chinese student has been with us for a year and we can already see him growing and maturing. He provides a connection to the university, as well as to the world. It takes so little to host that it seems like everyone would want a student.”

Holly & Michael Berryhill, Hosts

"My student and I have explored the beautiful mountain canyons and desert trails surrounding Tucson. More importantly, we started learning about our unique backgrounds and experiences. I was able to help him with the transition to life in America and he has enriched my life by becoming part of my family.”

George Binder, Host

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