International Student Services is offering families, students and community members the opportunity to befriend a Fort Hays State University international student through the Friendship Family Program.
Participants will not be responsible for housing, finances or legal matters but instead are there for the student to be a friend and to help them adjust to their new surroundings.
Families will be a family to one of more FHSU international students for one year and are expected to contact their student once a month to see how they are doing. Families can reach out more and invite their student to activities that they are attending, send them a card for a holiday their culture has, or even invite the student to celebrate an American holiday with them.
"We currently have matched 21 families with a student but we are constantly inviting and accepting applications from families that are interested," said Karen McCullough, assistant director of international student services.
FHSU currently has 587 international students from countries such as China, South Korea and Turkey. Coming to a new country is a large culture shock, and friendship families help these students adjust and learn about American culture.
McCullough said that knowing you helped someone in a strange country is a reward on itself, but the program comes with many more benefits, such as learning about a new culture and meeting other people who are also interested in other cultures.
"Being involved in the program is a great way to meet international students and support them but also a way to travel around the world without leaving Hays," said McCullough.
To apply to be a family for international students, pick up an application in the Student Affairs Office in Sheridan Hall, room 208 or at www.fhsu.edu/international/ffp.
For more information, contact the Office of International Student Services at 785-628-4276 or visit www.fhsu.edu/international and click on the Programs tab.