International Friendship Program

What Is the International Friendship Program?

Every year, hundreds of international students and scholars come to Indiana to study, research, or learn English; yet, many of them will never step foot inside an American home. The International Friendship Program (IFP) seeks to promote international understanding by matching local community members with international students and scholars attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP).

Discover the benefits of international friendship...

Learning about another culture is an enjoyable way to expand your awareness of the diversity of the world and a practical way to promote cultural exchange and peace between nations.

International students carving pumpkinsWhat Commitment Do I Make if I Participate?

International students/scholars and community members are matched for the length of one academic year, from August through May, or for the remainder of that period, if made mid-year.

We suggest you meet with your student/scholar once a month to keep your friendship growing. During periods when your schedule is busy, telephone calls and emails can help bridge the gap between personal visits.

What Are the Obligations?

Participants act as contacts and resources to the international students and scholars. They have no financial obligation, and, since this is not a home-stay program, students do not live with community member participants.

New community member applicants are required to attend a short orientation prior to participating in the program. During this orientation, community members will receive a handbook that outlines the goals and expectations of the program, participate in a workshop aimed to enhance their experience with their international student/scholar match, and receive answers to any questions that they might have.

International Friendship Program students at a get-togetherInternational students, scholars, and community members who sign up prior to the start of the fall semester will be invited to participate in a match-up mixer. This luncheon is an opportunity for international students and scholars to meet the community member applicants. Data collected during the event is then used by the Office of International Education to find the best match for each applicant.

What happens after a student/scholar is matched with a community member will depend on the pair's mutual interests. For example, members might invite their matches for a dinner at home, to attend a cultural or sporting event, to take a shopping trip, or to participate in other similar activities.

How Can I Get Involved?

Community members can apply online.

Download a print version of the application.

International students can apply online.

Students, please note: The IFP is operated on a first-come, first-served basis, with preference given to students in their first semester at IUP. Placement with a community member is not guaranteed.

If you have questions about the program or would like further information, please call the Office of International Education at 724-357-2295 or email