Friendship Family Program

Connecting Local Families with International Students


The Friendship Family Program matches each international student at John Brown University with an American host family.

International students who are partnered with a friendship family gain a new perspective on life in the United States. The American culture may seem strange and stores like Walmart may be overwhelming. However, through the friendship family, international students experience an American lifestyle, have a safe place to ask questions, and enjoy the comfort of a "home-away-from-home."

The friendship family gets the unique opportunity to support and encourage students as they walk through adjustments, culture shock, and homesickness. Together, families and students share their cultures and traditions, celebrate milestones, and just have fun. Both the family and the student benefit from this unique and wonderful friendship.

The Structure of Friendship Families

Most students meet once a month with their friendship families for a meal or an activity. For example, families might take their students to an American football game or their church. Each friendship family will look different, but the common theme is support, friendship, and fellowship.

No matter what the particular arrangement of a friendship family relationship, all friendship families want to be available to students if they should need something.There is an "open door attitude" that families are always ready to celebrate or help the student whenever they need.

Benefits for International Students:

  • Gain a home-away-from-home
    You are invited to share in the home of an American family. They will provide you with a secure place to relax and unwind. 
  • Experience American life
    Many friendship families take their students to local activities or church. They want you to be able to enjoy America and to take advantage of the opportunities and experiences that are available to you.
  • Enjoy an "open door attitude"
    Your friendship family is excited about you and spending time with you. While they recognize that you still have a family back home, they want you to feel as comfortable around them as you would with your own family.
  • Expand your worldview
    Each country has different ways of viewing things. Learning from each other is valuable and necessary. You will be able to be open and honest with your family and share your opinions and ideas within a safe environment. 

Benefits for Families:

  • Cultivate relationships
    You get to connect with an international student and enjoy learning about him or her as a person. Our students are passionate and skilled and have so many stories to share with you. The home is the perfect place for your family to develop a friendship with international students.
  • Exchange cultural experiences
    International students offer their unique background, culture, and heritage. There is always something new to learn from students. Even better, you get to share your American traditions, foods, and values with your students. Teach them how to bake apple pie or take them to a football game. Whatever the experiences you share, you'll get to exchange cultural lessons from around the world.
  • Learn from students
    Every person and culture has a different way of viewing life, and we believe learning from each other is essential. The exchange of ideas and conversation is an invaluable part of our friendship family experience.


For more information about the friendship family program, or to apply to be a friendship family, contact:

Ruby Bowles
International Programs Administrative Assistant