Global Friends, originally established in 1991 as Friendship International, provides international students at William & Mary with the opportunity to experience American life outside of campus while at the same time providing Williamsburg community members the chance to get to know students, scholars and their families from other cultures.
Volunteering as a Global Friend means committing to a relationship with a W&M international student for the duration of an academic year (August through May), or for the duration of a student’s exchange program (four to nine months).
During this time, Global Friends maintain regular contact with their students, plan to get together for one activity per month, and enjoy the opportunity to learn more about students’ cultures and customs, while sharing their own. Many Global Friends find that their students enjoy less formal activities.
There is no homestay component to the Global Friends program, but Global Friends are asked to get together at least once per month to enhance the students’ understanding of American society and culture. Many friends stay in touch via email or telephone conversations throughout the academic year. The Office of International Students, Scholars & Programs (ISSP) also hosts an event each semester to bring students and their hosts together, and program participants are invited to a number of other ISSP events throughout the year.
Global Friends must respect their assigned student’s religion, beliefs, values, and customs, and be open to cultural differences. Global Friends are not expected Lto provide students with housing, immigration information, financial resources, employment information or academic advising.
It is the policy of the Office of International Students, Scholars & Programs to match single Global Friends volunteers with students of the same gender.
To learn more, contact [[mstarman, Mona David-Starman]].