International students often say that the Friendship Family Program is one of their most meaningful and influential experiences while studying at Ball State.

Our program matches a Ball State international student with a local American family (or single person). This helps the student to better understand and become familiar with American culture and establish a support system while away from family and friends in their home country. It also helps local community members to become more culturally aware and sensitive, enriching the community. 

Watch the Friendship Family Video

Friendship Family Video Link  


   Apply Today!
   Students are not required to join, but we recommend it! 


Upon the completion of your application, please download and complete our waiver and consent forms:

    waiver and consent forms

    Completed waiver and consent forms are necessary for matching, and can be emailed to

What Friendship Families Are Like

We will assign you a friendship family after you complete the application form and submit a waiver and consent form.

American families voluntarily participate in this program and come from all walks of life, economic levels, and religions. Yet they all have a common interest in learning about other cultures and sharing the American way of life with you.

These families may be a traditional family unit (father, mother, and children), single-parent family, a retired couple, or a single individual.

Friendship families are not sponsors and should never be expected to provide financial assistance. They may provide caring emotional support and practical assistance as you settle in and familiarize yourself with Muncie. Families and students do not live with one another. 

You and your friendship family determine together how often to communicate and interact. Types of activities can vary greatly from one family to another.

What You Do with a Friendship Family

You do not need to feel obligated to accept every invitation. For example, if you have classwork to prepare or do not want to attend a religious activity, then you may politely turn down the invitation. However, you should accept enough invitations (or initiate them) to develop a good relationship. If your American friendship family does not make contact with you, please notify the coordinator of the friendship family program.

Examples of friendship family activities include:

  • going to the grocery store/farmer's market
  • going out for coffee
  • attending a play or concert
  • building a snowman in the winter
  • seeing a movie
  • attending local school and campus events
  • visiting a park
  • cooking dinner together
  • carving pumpkins for Halloween
  • swimming or biking
  • a basketball game
  • visiting a zoo

All in all, you just have fun!

Friendship Family Testimonies

“I would absolutely recommend the friendship family program. It seems almost sad not to take advantage of it because there are so many students who want to be part of an American family. It’s just so easy and it’s such a good experience for the families who participate, as well as for the students who are in a different culture.”
- Patti Trotti, Friendship Family since 2010

“I would love to recommend the friendship family program. It gives you more than just a chance to talk to American people. It also gives you another family in another country, and that’s where you feel a sense of belonging.”
- Wanping Gu, friendship student since October 2016.

“I think it’s really a good experience to join this program. Of course I have already recommended it to my friends!”
- Wei Xu, friendship student since September 2016.