Global Friends Program

William & Mary's Global Friends Program matches international students with members of the local community in an effort to foster cross-cultural friendships and understanding.

Why Be a Global Friend?

Community members who participate have the opportunity to learn more about another country, perhaps reconnect with a country in which they have lived or traveled, and get the chance to assist someone to settle into life in Williamsburg.

International students are able to meet and connect with American families and experience what American daily life is like outside of campus. By interacting with a global friend, international students have the chance to learn about the U.S. and local culture, customs, and traditions.

Program Commitment

The Global Friends Program is not a home-stay program - students live on campus or in private off-campus housing. Participants are asked to keep in contact throughout the academic year via visits, e-mail, or phone (or a combination thereof!). We encourage participants to meet up with their partners at least once a month during the school year. For example, invite your partner to a home cooked meal, a local sports event, or cultural activity - in short, any event(s) that would promote cross-cultural exchange.

Typically, partners are matched for the academic year. However, many participants maintain contact long after the formal period has ended.

Matching Students with Community Members

Applicants are matched based on interests. It is important that you tell us about yourself on the application form, so we can facilitate the best possible match. Please understand that we cannot guarantee that your Global Friend(s) will exactly fit your wishes (country of origin, language, etc.). Once partners are sent each other's contact information, they are expected to contact each other and arrange a convenient time and place to meet.

Global Friends Handbook

Please see our Community Member or International Student handbook for information about the program, ideas for activities, tips for creating long-lasting friendships, etc.

Join Global Friends!

Community Member Application (NOT FOR STUDENTS)

Students who are interested in joining the program can contact Mona Starman, [[globalfriends, Community Programs Assistant]].


Please contact Mona Starman, [[globalfriends, Community Programs Assistant]].

Take their Word for it: What previous participants have said about Global Friends

"I've really enjoyed the opportunity to welcome someone from a different country and culture to Williamsburg. It has been a great learning experience for both of us and it is a nice way to be connected to the College community."
-Ann (community volunteer)

"I believe the global friend experience is a great idea. It really helped me to have a contact away from the university. Gail and Peter were two lovely people who took a lot of interest in my year. I went to visit them at their home and they took me out for a couple of meals in the local district."
-Ben (student)

"I think the Global Friends Program is wonderful. I got very well matched according to my interests. My global friends are welcoming and very friendly. It is good to have somebody that cares for you when you are in a country you don't know."
-Maylis (student)