Close up of three students arm in arm.

Friendship Program

Next to traveling, sharing your own culture with someone from a different country may be the best way to experience and understand the world.

Every hike, dinner out, jam session, or museum trip inspires a dialogue about social customs, politics, and the ways in which we, as citizens of the world, are different and the same.

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is proud to sponsor the Friendship Program to connect members of the Austin community with our international students and scholars. Hosts have the opportunity to meet people from across the world and help them feel welcome in their new home. International students and scholars will meet members of the community who help acquaint them with the city and the many facets of Texan and U.S. culture. This is not only an exciting learning opportunity, but also the foundation for lifelong friendships.

Note: The Friendship Program has been suspended for the fall semester, however activities are expected to resume for spring 2021. Contact intercultural@austin.utexas.edu for updates.

Guidelines and Requirements

Local Austin Community Hosts

  • May be a single person, a couple, or a family, and living in Austin or a nearby city (e.g. Round Rock, Bastrop, Buda)
  • Must have the intention to remain in the program for one semester or one school year once matched
  • Must have the intention to plan an activity for you and your Friend(s) to engage in on a monthly basis
  • Be willing to keep an open mind, engage in new experiences, and to share your own culture and traditions
  • Be willing to undergo a background check if one is required (UT policy)

Apply   

Please note: The Fall 2020 Friendship Program is postponed. Applications for Austin Community Hosts open on Sept. 1, 2020 for the Spring Semester.

International Students and Scholars

  • Must be affiliated with the University as a student, visiting scholar, or faculty member while participating in the Friendship Program
  • Must have the intention to remain in the program for one semester or school year once matched
  • Be willing to engage in a monthly activity with your host
  • Be willing to keep an open mind, engage in new experiences, and share your culture and traditions

Apply

Please note: The Fall 2020 Friendship Program is postponed. Applications for international students and scholars open on Jan. 1, 2020 for the Spring Semester.

Family dinner at Thanksgiving.
Jerry and Joyce are from Hong Kong and only here for one semester—though they did not know each other. We learned so much about what it's like to live in Hong Kong...I am especially grateful that my son enjoyed meeting them and sharing our home with two strangers. It's always been my goal to show him that we're all the same family. These two students showed us the best of what it's like to adventure to a new place and be open to the people and experiences around them. They were kind, gracious, and very interested in our lives, too. Lovely people and we wish them all the best. (And we assured them that our home is always open to them.) Jane Gindin, Friendship Program Host

Friendship Program FAQ