Public university in the Midwest for 18 years running (U.S. News & World Report)
The International Friends program is designed to help build relationships between the Kirksville community and the International community at Truman State University. International students are eager to get a taste of what it’s like to be a part of an American family. Many international students spend 4 to 5 years studying in the United States and never see the inside of an American home. International friends hopes to change that!
We recognize that families come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you are a newly-wed couple, a single parent, or to a family of ten, we encourage you to participate in International Friends! The most important factor is that you are eager and willing to learn about new cultures while welcoming others into yours.
Responsibilities include making your student feel welcome in our community, being eager to learn about their culture, communicating with them regularly, and making an effort to meet with them about once a month.
While there’s no “best way,” we encourage International Friends families to use email, phone calls, or even Facebook to get in touch with their students. Be sure to discuss preferred methods when you first meet your student.
The great thing about the International Friends program is that finding a time to get together with your student should be easy! This can be very flexible, and you can choose to meet with your student as little or as much as fits into both of your schedules (with a goal of getting together about once a month). We do ask International Friends families to commit to the program for at least one semester.
Students will not live with you in your home. Students have housing either on or off-campus for the entire school year, so their housing needs are taken care of.
Being an International Friends family can be a very rewarding experience. Not only do you get the opportunity to learn more about other cultures, but it is amazing to know that you are making a difference in the lives of others and promoting cultural awareness. International students are often away from their homes for long periods of time and it really makes a difference to feel welcomed by a second family. Also, you will not be alone! You will be among several other families in the program that also share your interest in cultural exchange.
Although a student’s English may not be perfect, all students are required to meet a minimal English proficiency—so you will be able to communicate with them! Casually speaking with the members an International Friends family should be an easy, low-pressure way for the students to practice their speaking outside of the classroom environment. You may even learn a little bit of their language, if you ask!
You do not have to reside in Kirksville to be an International Friends family. However, if you live outside of Kirksville, please be willing to accommodate transportation needs for your student, as most international students do not have a car.
If you know anyone that may be interested in joining International Friends please invite them to sign up. Do not hesitate to contact the International Student Affair Office (contact information below) if you have suggestions for recruiting other families in our community.
"I found it very relaxing to get away from the hustle and bustle of a big city and get the chance to enjoy all of the aspects of a smaller town. This town is a wonderful place to enhance your college experience."
– Bethany Williams (’13), Communication Major