West Liberty starts a friendship family program for the holidays


WLU's website

Poster to become a friendship family for an international student.

With the holiday’s among us, West Liberty University (WLU) has started a friendship family program for international students. Becoming a friendship family means that a local family builds a relationship with an international student through phone calls, visits and activities. Each family can decide their own level of involvement with the international student and set their own schedule. Families can also choose how many times they meet with an international student.

When students leave for Thanksgiving and Christmas break, many international students have nowhere to go. Some cannot return home due to travel expenses and available flights while others have no family in the United States to stay with. WLU created friendship families because it allows families to invite international students to celebrate the holidays with them.

Many international students experience U.S. traditions while in college but they miss out on the chance of experiencing American holidays, but friendship families can help introduce international students to new holidays and different aspects of culture that the student would otherwise not get to experience.

Ryan Glanville, coordinator of international programs and recruiting, explained that becoming a friendship family to an international student is an exciting and rewarding experience because you make a difference in a student’s life by introducing them to American holidays and customs.

Glanville continued by explaining the benefits of befriending an international student by saying that you also gain the chance of learning about the students’ home and their culture. Glanville encourages anyone who is interested in learning about different cultures to become a friendship family or at least get in touch with some of the international students at WLU.

To become a Friendship Family or to learn more about the program, visit the Rollie Williams International Center by contacting Ryan Glanville at [email protected] or calling him at (304) 336-8382. With Thanksgiving break soon to come in the next following weeks, it is best to contact soon so the international students can begin making plans.