The University of Nebraska International Friendship Program is looking for “…a few good friends.”
Bonnie Payne, UNK international outreach coordinator, said, “I am looking for individuals or families who have a few spare hours every month and would be interested in befriending UNK international students through the UNK International Friendship Program.
“The program connects students and individuals or families for the purpose of English conversation, cultural sharing, and enjoying community and campus activities together,” she said. “This is simply a visitation program, not a home stay. It does not require a lot of time, and it’s incredibly rewarding.”
Through the program, international students can experience American culture and customs in a family setting, which helps them gain an understanding of American life. Last fall, students from 54 different countries attended UNK.
“The program also gives students the opportunity to teach their Kearney friends about their country and culture, and to practice their English language skills,” Payne said. “Families who have participated in this program have found it to be a wonderfully rewarding experience.
“They can expand their knowledge of the world and experience other countries’ culture and customs without leaving Kearney. If an individual or family have interest in a particular country, they can make their preference known on the application form and I will do all I can to accommodate that request.”
Payne said that although the commitment is for one year, “…most often the friendship lasts throughout the student’s stay in Kearney and even beyond. The time commitment does not need to be great. We expect the students and families to connect at least twice a month.
“Last semester, I had 34 students who wanted to participate but for whom I was unable to find an individual or family,” she said. “Once again, we have a large number of new international students coming in August, and most will want to participate in this program.”
For more information about the program, individuals can contact Payne at: 308.865.8939, Monday through Friday, or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application form is available online at: http://www.unk.edu/international/friendship/Family_Application_Form/