International Friendship Program

Decorative: W flag waves in front of flags from around the world carried by international students at WMU.

Western Michigan University is home to students from over 100 countries. The International Friendship Program matches international students and scholars with community members for monthly activities.

The Haenicke Institute for Global Education is excited to activate the 2022-2023 International Friendship Program (IFP): an initiative that connects international students with the Kalamazoo community. The IFP is designed to assist international students in transitioning and learning U.S. American culture as well as engaging the local community with the world.

The IFP pairs WMU international friends (international students and scholars) with community friends (local community members) to interact once per month from September through April. The International Friendship Program (IFP) is NOT a live-in or homestay program.

Who Can Participate?

Decorative: four individuals play bingo around a round table.

All matched friends—international and communitymust be at least 18 years of age.

All friends, international and community, must be at least 18 years of age. 

International Friends*

Eligible international students and scholars include: 

  • Degree-seeking students and family*
  • International scholars and family*

*Children of international friends may participate with a signed consent form.

Community friends offer a cultural bridge while adjusting to life at Western Michigan University!

Community Friends

Community friends can be:

  • WMU Students
  • WMU Staff
  • WMU Faculty
  • WMU Retirees

What are the Expectations?

The expectations of the IFP are: 

  1. Friendship pairs meet at least once per month.
  2. Participants will not attempt to proselytize to their own religion. 
  3. Community friends are NOT expected to pay for international friends while attending joint activities.
  4. Community friends do not offer housing to international friends.
  5. Friendship pairs are respectful of cultural differences. 
  6. Friendship pairs espouse international understanding as a lifelong goal.

important dates

International Friend Applications Due

  • August 8​
  • Application available within the International Student Orientation eLearning Module

Community Friend Applications Due​

International Friend Orientation​ (international friends only)​

  • Tuesday, August 16​
  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM​
  • Virtual Training​

Community Friend Orientation ​(community friends only)​

  • Wednesday, August 17​
  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM​
  • Location to be announced​

Fall Match Mixer​

  • Tuesday, August 30​
  • 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM​
  • Location to be announced​

Program Wrap-Up​

  • Wednesday, March 8, 2023​
  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM​
  • Location to be announced

How can I Learn More and Apply

To learn more: 

  1. Review the International Friendship Program Handbook
  2. Submit an international friend (located in International Student Orientation eLearning Module) OR
  3. Submit a community friend application