For the upcoming 2019 to 2020 academic year, newly admitted international students will be able to participate in the International Friends and Family Program (IFFP), formerly called the Host Family Program. This free program creates an opportunity for local neighbor/community members to connect socially with international students.
Community members and Stony Brook University international students will be paired and connected through email before the start of the semester. It is important to note that this is not a home-stay program. Participation activities can include cooking a meal, exploring the outdoors, attending on-campus events and sharing a holiday.
The mission of the IFFP is to build meaningful personal relationships that celebrate cultural diversity. Both students and community members can enjoy the enriching experience of a cultural exchange and gain a new perspective about the world. The program is managed through Visa and Immigration Services, a unit within the Office of Global Affairs that serves Stony Brook’s international faculty, scholar and student populations regarding immigration documentation and compliance.
“We recognize the value of new international students feeling a sense of belonging to the Stony Brook community; this program is a wonderful way to provide that opportunity for students, as well as offer community members the opportunity to engage and grow in cultural exchange with our international students,” said Lindsi Walker, Senior Assistant Dean of International Academic Programs and Services. “It’s a mutually beneficial relationship for the students, community and the institution.”
The deadline to apply for community members is July 1, 2019, and for international students the deadline is August 1, 2019. The online application can be found at stonybrook.edu/visa/life-at-sbu/iffp.
The F&F Program will be a big help to many because being an international student away from home is difficult, compounded by our complex culture and language problems. Welcoming and assimilation assistance must come from numerous sources, including the White House, to aid these young people embarking on life’s journey. Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from schools’ international departments, immigration protection, host families, concerned neighbors and fellow students, and even informative books to extend a cultural helping hand.
Something that might help anyone coming to the US is the award-winning worldwide book/ebook “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More.” Used in foreign Fulbright student programs and endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it identifies how “foreigners” have become successful in the US, including students.
It explains how to cope with a confusing new culture and friendship process, and daunting classroom differences. It explains how US businesses operate and how to get a job (which differs from most countries), a must for those who want to work with/for an American firm here or overseas.
It also identifies the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have and tips for easily overcoming them, the number one stumbling block they say they have to succeeding here.
Good luck to all at SBU or wherever you study or wherever you come from, because that is the TRUE spirit of the American PEOPLE, not a few in government who shout the loudest! Supporters of int’l students must shout louder.