down arrowMenu

International Students and Scholars Office

International Friendship Program

For over 50 years of success, this community-based program matches students with volunteer families to build friendship and spend time together by attending events or eating meals. Students who apply for this program are seeking to learn more about American culture by participating in family activities. Families who apply are seeking to connect with international students, invite them into family activities, and learn more about other cultures as well as their own. Please note: this is NOT a residential home-stay program.

This program is a collaboration between the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO), supported by the Office of International Programs (OIP).
Image of new students having dinner with their host family Image of international students with their host family during the Thanksgiving Potluck Image of international students with their host family during the Thanksgiving Potluck


Whether you are a student looking for a home-away-from-home or a family wanting to welcome international students into your lives, please fill out an application to get started.      


To apply, fill out one of the following:


The deadline to apply for Fall Semester is August 19 and for Spring Semester is January 10. Applicants are matched twice a year at the beginning of fall or spring semesters. All selected participants are required to attend an orientation meeting, where you will meet each other for the first time.    


In November, we host the annual Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner where all students and families are encouraged to attend together. Besides this event, most families and students arrange their own activities throughout the year. Below is a list of activities submitted by families and students:

  • Share traditional family meals at home

  • Go out to local eateries (restaurants, ice cream, frozen yogurt, coffee/tea, etc.)

  • Go shopping

  • Attend local music events and concerts

  • Have a picnic or barbeque (BBQ)

  • Go to the Farmer’s Market

  • Visit tourist attractions (museums, Amana Colonies, Cattle Congress, Adventureland, etc.)   

  • Attend family parties (birthdays, graduations, reunions, showers, etc.)

  • Watch fireworks

  • Attend church

  • Explore downtown Cedar Falls

  • Play games (board games, cards, video games, etc.)

  • Bake treats at home (cookies, cake, pies, etc.)

  • Outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, skating, climbing, boating or fishing

  • Celebrate holidays:

    • Halloween: pumpkin carving, corn maze, costume party, trick-or-treat with kids or give candy  

    • Christmas: celebrate with family, eat meals, open presents, attend concerts, view Christmas lights, visit Santa, etc.