Global Exchange Friendship Program


Interested in applying for next year? Stay tuned for the new application in August 2016.

What is the Global Exchange Friendship Program?

The Global Exchange Friendship Program connects international students at Purdue University Calumet with individuals and families from the Northwest Indiana region for the purpose of communication, cultural exchange, and enjoying activities together.  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 last August:

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 and 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 program 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 program coordinator and friendship partner as soon as this information is known.

Friendship Exchange Program Logo

What is the Application Process?

At the start of every Fall academic semester (August and September), you can complete an online application available here on our website.  The enrollment period for the 2015-16 academic year closed on September 14, 2015, and is expected to re-open for the 2016-17 academic year in early August 2016.

What Happens After I Apply?

  1. The International Affairs Office will review your application, contact you with any additional questions, and begin the matching process internally

  2. You will be contacted with an invitation to attend a mandatory Orientation Session/Welcome Party in order to be matched with your international friend(s)/friendship volunteer

  3. As part of the Orientation Process, American friendship volunteers from the community (non-employees of Purdue University Calumet) must also complete a and a Volunteer Agreement and Release Form, both of which are available here, and can be submitted before or during the Orientation Session/Welcome Party (copies will be available)

  4. At the event, you will meet your new international friend(s)/friendship volunteer!

  5. Participants will be contacted by the program coordinator soon after the Welcome Party with information containing their friendship partner’s contact information (in case they did not attend), and will be contacted periodically throughout the length of the program

What/When is the Orientation Session/Welcome Party?

Upon the application deadline and completion of the internal matching process, participants will be contacted to the attend the event, generally in late September or early October. During the event, participants of the Global Exchange Friendship Program will receive a more in-depth overview of the program, and complete additional paperwork as needed. There will also be an opportunity for questions, but the most exciting part is that participants will get to meet and interact with their new Friendship Program partner(s)!

Who Can I Contact if I Have Further Questions?

If you are current participant, are interested in participating in the program for the next academic year, have any questions, or need to change/cancel your current application, please contact the program coordinator Kristen Bunner at 219-989-2265 or email