International Student Services in need of Friendship Families

Fort Hays State University's Office of International Student Services is needing more people to be a part of the Friendship Family program.

Marnie Kohl, program coordinator, said that through the program, international students are paired up with a family, individual or community member to simply make friends and learn about the "culture of western Kansas".

"A lot of them look for an American experience," Kohl said. "This is a great way."

The friendship families differ from host families in that the students do not live with them. It's a way for them to socialize by cooking dinner, going out to the movies, or doing other activities together.

Kohl said this is the third year since the program has been revived, and they're in need families with more international students coming in than ever before.

"We're expecting 225 to 250 (international students) for this year," Kohl said.

Last year, 25 friends were matched up with 51 students, resulting in each family having two or more students. Some students who applied for a family were not able to get one because there were not enough families, she said.

Most of the families and students who were in the program, Kohl said, enjoyed it and will continue it throughout the upcoming year. It's an opportunity for them to not only practice their English, but also to gain cultural experience.

For more information or to apply to be a Friendship Family, call the Office of International Student Services at 628-4276 or visit the website at

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Office of University Relations   |  600 Park Street   |  Hays, KS  67601-4099
(785) 628-4206   |   Fax (785) 628-4152
Kent Steward, Director   |  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |