Friendship Program

Next to traveling to a new culture, sharing your own culture with someone from a different country may be the best way to experience and understand the world. Every hike, dinner out or museum trip inspires a dialogue about social customs, how languages or politics developed, or why Austin often smells like barbecue.

That's why we offer the Friendship Program to connect members of the Austin community with our international students and scholars. As a host, you have the opportunity to meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds and help them experience the best Austin has to offer. As an international student or scholar, you will meet members of the Austin community and get better acquainted with the city and American culture. For everyone, this is a chance to build bridges and relationships that will last forever.

Guidelines & Requirements

Local Austin hosts

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 semester or 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

Apply now to be a host >>

International students and scholars

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 semester or 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

Apply now to be matched with a local host >>

Friendship Program FAQ

We match people of the same gender if the match is one on one. If a host requests more than one match, there may be a mix of genders represented in the match group.

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 visit the PALS site.

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 will remind participants that it may not be possible.

When possible, we base our matches mainly on the hobbies and 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.

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.

Unfortunately, each year there is generally an unequal balance of students and host sign ups. This means that there are some who go unmatched. We encourage you to keep attending the Friendship Program events to engage in the community and will match you as soon as we are able.

Email intercultural@austin.utexas.edu 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.

Newsletter Archive

Contact

If you have any questions, concerns or comments email us at intercultural@austin.utexas.edu.