Friendly Family Program

Through the Hiram College Friendly Family Program, new international students are paired with local friends of Hiram College faculty, staff, students, and alumni.   The purpose of this program is to provide all participants with an opportunity to share their culture, while also providing the new student an opportunity to build a local support network. Making connections with faculty, staff, and the local community is an important step toward student success!

This is a friendship program, not a live-in program.  To learn more about this program, please read the information below.

Program Participants

Student participants are new Hiram College students, who have never lived in the U.S. and do not have family members living in the region.   Friendly Families are local residents who share an interest in helping others and learning more about other cultures.  Hosts may be single, couples, or families with children and may live within walking distance or within a short drive from campus.

Program Participant Pairing

Student and family participants each submit an application (See bottom of page) which includes information about interests, hobbies, international experiences, and program preferences.  Based on the information submitted in the application, the International Student Advisor in the Office for International Student Services pairs students and host families together.

The First Meeting

Typically families and students meet for dinner during International Orientation.  If a Friendly family is unable to attend the "Get-To-Know-You" reception, the host student and family should contact each other directly to arrange a meeting, preferably on campus.  The Hiram College Bistro is a perfect location for a first meeting over a cup of coffee or tea.

Frequency of Meetings

Friendly Family Program participants are asked to meet at least three times a semester, though most meet more often.   It is important to decide together what a comfortable arrangement is. The Office for International Student Services plans Potluck dinners 1-2 times per semester; the potlucks are always a great time to catch up over home cooked food!

Possible Activities

Friendly Families often invite their host student to family meals, birthday celebrations, local festivals, concerts and lectures, special holidays, athletic events, and on sightseeing trips.  Host students are encouraged to teach their Friendly Family about their home country customs, food, culture, etc. Some students even show their Family how to prepare a traditional meal from home!

Respecting cultural, religious, and political heritage

It is likely that there will be differences (and some similarities) in participants' cultural, religious, and political customs and heritage. We ask all Friendly Family Program participants to respect these differences.

Dietary restrictions

Students are encouraged to notify their Friendly Family in advance if they have any special dietary needs. It is particularly important to share this information when invited for a meal in the family's home. Families may want to ask about dietary needs when extending an invitation as well.

Issues for which a Friendly Family is not responsible

Friendly Families are not responsible for their host student's financial, immigration, academic, employment, health, or serious adjustment issues.  If host students have issues in any of these areas, they should consult the International Student Advisor.

Friendly Families are also not responsible for student transportation needs; however, offers of transportation assistance for occasional shopping trips and to the airport during breaks is often much appreciated.

Hiram College does have an airport shuttle service for a very low fee, available during most breaks, and PARTA is useful for some of the other transportation needs.

When to contact the Office for International Student Services

If you are having any problems with your assigned family/host student or just feel uncomfortable with the match, please contact the International Student Advisor.

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Apply for the Friendly Family Program

We hope that you will take advantage of this wonderful program that so many of our international students and local families in the past have enjoyed! To participate in the Friendly Family Program, please complete the appropriate application below.

+ Student Application

+ Family Application

Office for International Student Services

Nicole Gatrell

International Student Advisor (PDSO)

Office Location: Kennedy Center, 1st floor
Phone: +1.330.569.5388
Fax: +1.330.569.5183
Email: