International Friends at Rice

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 complete the application form.

IFR U.S. Friend Application – This application link is for the U.S. friend and should not be completed by students.
The student application link will be sent to students after they complete the IFR Student Orientation. Please contact Elmira at for more information.

Important Dates for IFR 2023

All new U.S. Friends participating in IFR for the first time will be asked to complete an orientation. Orientations will be scheduled as needed based on applications received.

Matching Event
Thursday, September 7, 2023, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Rice University.
Additional information will be sent to participants by email closer to the event.

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