Due to COVID-19, IFR2020 will be a limited virtual experience. We hope to return to a more traditional IFR in 2021. New U.S. Friends interested in participating in the future are still welcome to complete the IFR U.S. Friend Application at this time, and we will reach out to you once plans for 2021 have been confirmed.
International Friends at Rice (IFR) is an opportunity for an international student and a local U.S. friend or family to meet 3 - 4 times during the student's first 6 months at Rice. The local friends and families enjoy getting to know international students by sharing cross-cultural experiences and learning about other countries. The U.S. friends may help international students discover Houston, invite them for a meal, and make the student(s) feel more at home. This program is coordinated by Rice University's Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS). Feel free to contact the OISS staff if you are interested in participating, or join us at a training session.
IFR U.S. Friend Application (This application link is for the U.S. friend and should not be completed by students.)
Rice University and the Institute of International Education (IIE) are pleased to share a training video: International Friendship Program. This is a free resource to help give guidance for host families and friends who want to participate in friendship programs. For the video, please click here.
Check out what previous international students have to say about the program:
"One merit very special in my host family is that they accept the diversity of our social and cultural background as natural. They think it quite reasonable for people from different parts of the world to have different opinions about many things." -- Student from China
"I have an open invitation to have dinner with my host family every weekend. They are always ready to give helpful advice. I also had the opportunity to practice and improve my skills in English." -- Student from France
"I enjoy meeting new people and learning about new perspectives on things, and my conversations with the [host family] have been particularly interesting, though we haven't always seen eye to eye on everything. It was nice that the Host Family program could provide me with one more opportunity to meet someone new and learn something about how people live and interact with each other in this country." -- Student from India
"It was nice to have someone invite us on several important occasions (Thanksgiving, Christmas, even days without any special meaning). Moreover, this was an opportunity to learn more about the American way of life, customs, and traditions." -- Student from Romania