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Friendship Family Program matches international students with local families

Imagine yourself thousands of miles from home in a foreign culture, where you must adapt to a new and challenging academic environment. Would you appreciate a supportive and welcoming home away from home?

Dartmouth's Friendship Family Program provides just that, matching incoming international freshmen with a local host family. For the students, the family is a window on aspects of American culture that campus life doesn't always provide. For the family, it's a relationship that provides a unique opportunity to learn about another culture.

Friendship Family PrgramFrom left: Minty Koppenheffer, Amma R. Serwaah-Panin '10 of Ghana, and Wan Xian Sng '10 of Singapore, pictured at the Koppenheffer home last Thanksgiving. The Koppenheffer family is participating in the Friendship Family Program and serving as a local host family for Serwaah-Panin and Sng. (Photo Courtesty Amma R. Serwaah-Panin'10)

Local families interested in the program are invited to apply to the International Student Program Office (part of OPAL, the Office of Pluralism and Leadership) throughout the academic year. Student-family matches are made at the end of the summer to ensure the program begins in earnest when students arrive in the fall. While the OPAL officially supports the program through the first fall, students and families often find that a lasting connection is formed that continues throughout the student's Dartmouth career and beyond.

Stephen Silver, director of International Student Programs, says, "In the last seven years, my family and I have participated in the Friendship Family Program. Our son has especially enjoyed hanging out with his big brothers from Canada, Ghana, and Nigeria."

For application forms and further information, contact (603) 646-2331.

By AMMA SERWAAH-PANIN '10

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 7/6/09