What is the Global Exchange Friendship Program?
The Global Exchange Friendship Program is a program that matches international students at Purdue University Calumet with local community members (Purdue University Calumet faculty, staff, alumni, and residents of the surrounding communities) for the sole purpose of developing cross-cultural connections and friendships. When the connection is made between international students and American friendship volunteers, there is opportunity for true cultural exchange. The international students who choose to participate in this program are those who wish to develop a genuine connection with Americans who are willing to offer the gift of friendship.
This is NOT a live-in (or “Host”) program. There is no financial obligation associated with this program. Participants of this program are asked simply to get together at least once per month for coffee, a meal, movies, shopping, etc., in order to develop their cross-cultural connection and to share/exchange aspects from their respective cultures.
You might have seen a news release on this program circulated by University Relations, and an article printed in the NWI Times on August 24th:
What Are The Benefits Of Participating In The Global Exchange Friendship Program?
Both international students and American friendship volunteers will benefit in countless ways by participating in the Global Exchange Friendship Program.
For American Friendship Volunteers:
- Meet students from various countries around the globe and expand your horizons
- Enjoy the rewarding experience of helping international students better understand American culture and make the most of their American college adventure
- Learn a new language or practice foreign language skills
- Establish a potentially long-lasting friendship and connection with someone who can be visited or contacted in his/her home countries
For International Students:
- Develop a connection with an American friend or family
- Learn about American culture and “the American way” firsthand through experience
- Practice conversational English outside of the classroom
- Get to know the local area and enjoy all the best that ‘the Region’ has to offer – people, food, entertainment and attractions
What Are The Expectations & Responsibilities?
Cross-Cultural exchange and friendship building should be both a rewarding experience and a lot of fun! All it takes is a little time.
- Friendship partners are asked to get together and interact at least once per month, however meetings can be more frequent depending on participants’ preferences and availability
- Keep in contact and maintain regular communication via telephone, email, Facebook, and so on
- Respect each other’s culture, customs, beliefs, religion, etc.
- Notify the IPO Coordinator with any questions, problems or concerns related to the program
- Complete and submit to the Coordinator a program evaluation at the conclusion of the term
Remember, there is absolutely no financial obligation associated with the Global Exchange Friendship Program.
What Is The Length Of Commitment?
It is expected, or at least requested, that participants of the Global Exchange Friendship Program maintain the cross-cultural friendship for the full length of the academic year (September – May). However, if circumstances change which would prevent either participant from keeping this commitment (such as a school transfer or location change/move), please notify the Coordinator and friendship partner as soon as this information is known.
What Is The Application Process?
- Complete the application and return it to the IPO Coordinator
- All participants must attend an Orientation Session in order to be matched with an international friend/friendship volunteer
- As part of the Orientation Process, American friendship volunteers from the community (non-employees or Purdue University Calumet) must also complete a Purdue Calumet Volunteer Agreement & Release, a Volunteer Registration Form, and Volunteer Registry Check, which will be provided during the Orientation Session
- Participants will be contacted by the IPO Coordinator soon after the Orientation Session with a welcome message and information containing their friendship partner’s contact information
What/When is Orientation?
During the Orientation Sessions, potential participants of the Global Exchange Friendship Program will receive a more in-depth overview of the program, and have the chance to complete the program application. There will also be an opportunity for questions.
If you are interested in participating in program contact Brooke Hewson at 219-989-2399, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an orientation.