International Friends sponsors a “welcome” event each August and January for new students and hosts. At these events, we describe our program and invite International students to apply to be matched with local hosts.
Students and hosts are encouraged to get together once a month or more. Activities can range from special events like holiday celebrations, sightseeing trips, and hiking outings, to everyday activities like shopping and sharing meals. International Friends also organizes picnics and other fun events during the school year that all are welcome to attend.
While the students’ and hosts’ matched relationships officially end after the first academic year, lifelong friendships and connections are often formed with hosts, students, and the students’ families back home. Many have found their lives immeasurably enriched by these friendships.
International Friends has a governing body, the Board of Directors, composed of past and present hosts, graduate and undergraduate international students, and a representative from International Student Services. The Board organizes and coordinates International Friends activities.
Information about group activities and other items of interest are communicated through International Friends emails and website.
There is no fee associated with International Friends. We are a 501(c)(3) organization, and donations in support are always welcome.
Yes! Many International Friends hosts request being matched with two or three students, and some even host more.
International students describe International Friends as an invaluable asset for learning about American life outside the academic environment. Southern Arizonans who have hosted students have expressed tremendous gratitude for the pleasure these relationships bring, and the goodwill generated affects both students and hosts for the rest of their lives.
Students and hosts are matched for one academic year. Although the relationships may continue well beyond this time period, we hope hosts will make themselves available for matching to other first-year students in upcoming years.
Any student inquiries regarding the following should be referred to the University of Arizona’s International Student Services office at 520 621-4627:
“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.”
“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!”
“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.”
“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.”
International Friends is an all-volunteer organization that brings together international students attending the University of Arizona and Southern Arizona residents.
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