The Friends of International Students & Scholars Program offers a unique opportunity for a cultural exchange between an international student or scholar and a local family or individual. This new “friendship” can offer much welcomed hospitality, teaching, and learning experiences for both “friend” and guest. It also eases adjustment to and provides understanding of life in West Virginia for a new international student or scholar. The Friends of International Students & Scholars Program offers the possibility of a mutually rewarding relationship between the “friend” and the international visitor, giving each the opportunity to learn from the other.

This program does not involve providing housing but temporary accommodation on arrival in Morgantown or during school breaks can sometimes be arranged. The program includes some typical social activities. For example, an invitation to an informal dinner, visits to local places of interest, or just watching a favorite movie or TV show and spending time at the “friend’s” home can provide an introduction to an American lifestyle.

Most people’s knowledge of other countries is gathered from movies, the media, and modern literature. Regrettably, these do not always give an accurate account of life in these countries including in the United States. It is hoped that this program will provide a rewarding opportunity to experience and learn the differences and similarities between international cultures and U.S. culture for both “friend” and international guest.

Because relationships have to be nurtured, the host friend and guest are requested to at least maintain a monthly contact for one year, even if it is only a note or telephone call. Your active participation is vital to the success of this program so it is important that you think realistically about your commitments before signing up for this program.

We attempt to match students and scholars to their host friend on the basis of common interests, and as soon as possible after we have received requests to participate in the program. The program is fun, it’s as interesting as you make it, and it works. All you need is the desire to learn about other cultures while in turn sharing your culture with your new “friend”.

Please feel free to contact us at isss-students@mail.wvu.edu, or Liz Finklea.