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IHC International Friends Program

The IHC International Friends Program matches international visitors with people in the local community as friends, but the student does not live with the “host” family.

IMPORTANT: Due to the coronavirus and the policies of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and of the CDC (Center for Disease Control) all of our IHC programs and classes are available in a virtual format. Please contact the respective IHC program coordinator for details.

In this program, when community members befriend an international student or family, we recommend that the host contact the student or scholar IN PERSON (rather than just by email) at the start of the placement. We also suggest that you try to see your student or scholar(s) at least three times a semester, by inviting him/her/them to a family or holiday dinner and to the annual springtime dinner for participants in all International Hospitality Committee programs.

Your activities together are arranged by mutual consent. Students and scholars want to see every day American life, so it works well when you simply include them in what you are doing anyway. They enjoy cooking with you, your cuisine or theirs, going to the kids' school events, sightseeing in the area, shopping, or sports and cultural events. Be mindful of the fact that students and scholars are under intense academic pressure, so don't take it personally if they must refuse invitations.

We ask both the "hosts" and students or scholars to fill out application forms with their contact information and their hobbies and preferences. We use this information to match people with compatible interests. Anyone in the community who is interested in befriending our students and scholars is welcome to participate, regardless of age or family structure. Host registration forms are available below. Applications open each year from mid-August through October 31 and again in the month of January.



If you would like to help IHC with the matching of international students, scholars, and their families with local individuals or families, please contact Donna Erickson (