International Friendship Program looking for host families

July 10, 2014  

The Office of International Programs has an ambitious goal in the coming year -- to match 600 new international students with local families through the International Friendship Program. Faculty and staff are invited to learn more about the program at orientation sessions being held in July.

The International Friendship Program (IFP) gives students and families who participate an opportunity to develop meaningful cross-cultural relationships. Everyday activities -- like going to a farmers market, attending a Little League game or joining a home-prepared turkey dinner -- are activities much appreciated by the students. Getting a firsthand glimpse of American life and culture and discovering a life outside Purdue are some reasons international students join IFP.

Friendship partners are encouraged to get together once a month over the student's first semester at Purdue. 

Yang Chen, a graduate student in computer graphics technology, was matched with friendship partners Dan Olson, associate professor of sociology, and his wife, Shirley. Chen says the best part about IFP is participating in the life of a local family. Together they have enjoyed sharing holiday activities like pumpkin carving at Halloween and eating dumplings at Chinese Lantern Festival. Yang said that a meaningful moment for her was celebrating Father's Day at Bruno's with her "host dad" and family.

The Olsons have been matched with three international "friends" through IFP, all from China. "We've enjoyed getting to know each of them. It's been a rewarding experience for us," Shirley Olson says.

IFP orientations are 12:10-12:50 p.m. July 10, 18, 22 and 31 in Stewart Center, Room 214, for interested Purdue faculty and staff. "We want everyone to have a positive experience, and the orientations set the stage for this," says Beth Tucker, IFP coordinator.

For more information about IFP, email

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