At Augustana College, the Friendship Family Program is designed to give international students some family and community contacts when they’re so many miles from home. Friendship Families commit to be connected with students, participate in various cultural or community activities throughout the year, provide opportunities for home-cooked meals and company, and more. Over 50 international students were paired with families during the past academic year.

“The Friendship Family Program is important for students because it broadens their community of support at a formative time in their lives while they are far away from their families, home culture and the comfort of a ‘home’ space,” Heather Edmunds Reed, associate director of the International Programs Office and senior international student advisor, told Augustana University News. “Likewise, by simply being themselves, students are role models to the children in their families, ambassadors of their home countries and provide rich language and cultural opportunities for families.”

De Knudson, a Friendship Families volunteer explained why she gets involved: “I want these international students to leave Sioux Falls feeling like they had every opportunity possible.”

Read more about it here.