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Friendship Program

UT Austin International Friendship Program

Guidelines & Requirements | How to Apply | Upcoming Events | Frequently Asked Questions | Newsletter | Contact Us

Sharing your culture and learning about others can be a rewarding experience and a lot of fun! When you make friends with an international student or local community member, you share experiences, traditions, and customs. This is not only an exciting learning opportunity, but also the foundation for lifelong friendships. International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) offers this opportunity to both Austin locals and UT’s international students and scholars through the Friendship Program.

As an international student or scholar, the Friendship program will provide you with the chance to meet members of the Austin community. They will help you become acquainted with the city and the American lifestyle. As a host, sharing in the Friendship Program will provide you with the prospect of meeting people from various cultures and backgrounds and helping them experience the best part of Austin – its people.

Guidelines & Requirements

International Students and Scholars:

  • Must be affiliated with the University while participating in the Friendship Program
  • Must have the intention to remain in the program for one school year once matched
  • Be willing to engage in a monthly activity with your host
  • Be open and willing to engage in new experiences, and the sharing of your culture and values

Local Austin Community Hosts:

  • May be a single person, a couple, or a family, and living in Austin or a nearby city (e.g. Round Rock, Bastrop, Buda)
  • Must have the intention to remain in the program for one school year once matched
  • Must have the intention to engage your international match in a monthly activity
  • Be open and willing to engage in new experiences, and the sharing of your culture and values
  • Adhere to the International Office Guidelines for Community Volunteers (PDF), adapted from NAFSA Code of Ethics

How to Apply

Applications for the Spring 2015 semester are now open! Applications for international students/scholars and hosts for this semester will remain available until the end of April. ISSS plans to notify matches as they sign up throughout the semester. Applications for the 2015-2016 school year will open during the summer.

Friendship Program Host Application

Please note: the Host Application is for Austin community members only. American UT students interested in hosting should apply to the (PALS Program)

Friendship Program INTERNATIONAL Student/Scholar Application

Upcoming Events

Spring 2015

Event: End of the Year Bowling Bash
Date: Sunday, April 26th
Time: 2 - 4pm
Location: The Texas Union Underground

Friendship Program FAQ

  1. Can I be matched with someone of the opposite gender?
    • This question is often asked by people looking to make a romantic connection. IO staff reminds participants that the Friendship Program is meant for platonic cultural engagement between international students/scholars and those in the Austin community. You will be matched with someone of the same gender unless hosts request more than one match, in which case, there may be a mix of genders represented in the matches.
  2. I’m an American student at UT and want to be matched with an international student/scholar, should I join this program?
    • Friendship Program is primarily for permanent members of the Austin community. A perfect program for you is the PALS program, which matches current UT students with UT international students. To learn more about PALS, please visit the PALS site.
  3. I’m from the Austin Community and want to practice my language skills with a native speaker. Is this a good program for me?
    • The Friendship Program is primarily for cultural exchange, rather than practicing language skills. We match according to interests. We will try to accommodate your request to be matched with a student/scholar from a particular nation, but remind participants that it may not be possible.
  4. How do you match hosts and students/scholars?
    • We base our matches mainly on interests that you list on your application. Other information, such as gender, age, and country of origin are also taken into account. We do this to provide the best opportunity for matches to share common interests and activities.
  5. I want to be matched with a student/scholar from a particular country. What are the chances of that happening?
    • We will try our best to match you based on your listed preferences. Knowing which nations make up the UT international student/scholar community and in what proportions will give you a better idea of your chances of being matched with a student/scholar from a particular nation. You can see our student/scholar demographics for each school year.
  6. I was not matched. What happened?"
    • Unfortunately, each year there are more students/scholars applicants than hosts. This means that there are some who go unmatched. We encourage you to keep attending the Friendship Program events to engage in the community.
  7. I signed up but am no longer interested in participating. What should I do?"
    • Email to request that we remove you from the mailing list and match another student in you place. This courtesy allows us to ensure that as many students/scholars as possible can be matched with a host.


Contact Us

If you have any questions, concerns or comments please send an email to