Friendship Family Program

Learn about Friendship Families for International Students

The Friendship Family Program matches each international student at John Brown University with an American host family. That family will provide a meaningful cross-cultural relationship that also brings the familial comforts of home to international students.

At times, the American culture, customs, traditions, and social structure can be strange. However, by connecting with a friendship family, international students can gain a new perspective and understanding of the United States. It is a chance for international students to be able to really learn what an average American lifestyle looks like.

The friendship family is also there to support and encourage students as they walk through adjustments, culture shock, and homesickness. They are there to celebrate the different milestones of each student’s college career.

At the same time, international students can also share their home culture with their host family and expose their family to their own background, language, and way of life. Through an investment of time and effort, students will be rewarded with a wonderful and new friendship.

Most students meet with their friendship families on a monthly basis for a meal or an activity. Friendship families recognize that students have other responsibilities, but they want to be available to students if they should need something. Often, families will call their students once a week to check on how they are doing. This provides international students with someone outside of JBU to support them. Adjusting to a new culture presents many challenges and hurdles; it can be a time of great excitement and learning. The friendship family is there as a safe haven for students while they adjust to their new home in the US.

Our JBU contacts for the Friendship Family program are Ruby Bowles and Ron Johnson .

Benefits for International Students:

  • Home-away-from-home
    You are invited to share in the home of an American family. They will provide you with a secure place to relax and un-wind. All the benefits of a home are open to you with the Friendship Family program.
  • Meaningful relationships
    Friendships are a vital part of belonging to a community. Your friendship family is there to understand, encourage, and accept who you are. They will be able to provide valuable insight into the culture that you are joining.
  • Positive experiences
    Many friendship families take their students to local activities or church. They want you to be able to enjoy America and to take advantage of the opportunities and experiences that are available to you. When it comes time for you to return to your country, they want to have made sure that you had an overall positive experience.
  • "Open door attitude"
    Your friendship family is excited about you and spending time with you. They want you to feel comfortable with calling them should you need anything. The friendship families do everything from letting you crash for a weekend or holiday to watering your plants while you will be gone. While they recognize that you still have a family back home, they want you to feel as comfortable around them as you would with your own family.
  • Inter-cultural exposure
    When you come to John Brown University you bring with you a special gift: your culture, heritage, and who you are. While some of the friendship families have had international experience, all are eager to learn from you. Their home is a good place both for you to share your own culture and for you to learn about the American culture.
  • Expanding worldview
    Each country has different ways of viewing things. Learning from each other is valuable and necessary. You will be able to be open and honest with your family and share your opinions and ideas within a safe environment. During your time at JBU, you will be able to evaluate the ideas and beliefs of others and come to a more concrete conclusion of what you believe. 
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