International Friends and Family Program
*Fall 2020 Programming Note*
Due to the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation, we have made the difficult decision to
“pause” our IFFP matching. In addition, due to health and safety concerns, we will
not be hosting any in-person IFFP events this semester. We hope that all current
IFFP members continue to make time for each other and we encourage you to stay connected
via virtual means.
Stony Brook University’s International Friends and Family Program (IFFP) creates opportunities
for Stony Brook University international students and the surrounding community to
establish mutually rewarding relationships. It provides a chance for international
students to interact with local community members and provide a cultural exchange
of country, culture and language.
The program is NOT a homestay program and does not offer housing or financial support
Mission & Vision
Our mission is to build meaningful personal relationships that celebrate cultural
diversity by connecting international students with neighbors and community members.
Our vision is to create a welcoming, inclusive environment for our international students
during their time at Stony Brook by providing a unique way to engage in American life
and culture to complement and enhance the student’s educational experience.
We aim to promote diversity by increasing multicultural awareness and understanding.
Watch Orientation Video on International Friendship
- International Students
Program Information for International Students
What is the International Friends and Family Program (IFFP)?
- IFFP provides newly admitted international students for the fall semester with continuing
friendship and involvement with volunteer community members and families in the United
- Both students and their community member friends can have the enriching experience
of a cultural exchange and gain a new perspective about the world.
- A community member may be a large family group, a retired couple, a working couple
or an individual.
- The only prerequisite is the desire to make an international student feel comfortable
in his/her new setting.
- Students are invited to interact with a community member or family who offers friendship
to them during their studies at the university.
- These relationships often turn into lifelong friendships.
The program does not offer housing nor financial support for students. It is not meant
to be a home-stay program. Unfortunately at this time the program is not available
to continuing and non-degree seeking international students.
How do I apply?
It's as easy as 1-2-3!
Newly admitted international students can access the International Friends and Family
Program (IFFP) application from within the I-20/DS-2019 Request within
You will be paired with a community member using an algorithm based on interests,
personality and other commonalities. Please be as honest as possible when completing
You will be introduced to your community member via e-mail from our office. It
is then up to you both to set up a date/time to meet.
The University hosts a reception on campus for all program participants at the beginning
of the Fall semester.
Applications should be submitted by August 1st at the latest.
We are limited in the number of community participants, so apply early!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the time commitment?
We suggest you meet with your local family/friend at least once a month, but your
interactions will depend on your mutual interests. You decide how and when you spend
You can choose to do activities together ranging from cooking a meal, to exploring
the outdoors, to attending on-campus events, from sports to the arts! This is a great
way to learn about local culture and experience parts of America that you may not
otherwise see on-campus.
What is the cost?
The International Friends and Family Program is FREE to join! If you do any activities
that cost money with your community member, you should always offer to pay for your
own expenses. If your family/friend offers to pay for you (dinner, movie, etc.), of
course it is okay to accept their kind offer—however, you should not assume your family/friend
will take care of your expenses, and it is not appropriate to ask them to buy you
Who will I be matched with?
The International Friends and Family Program attracts a wide range of families and
individuals from the local community. You may be matched with a family with small
children, a retired couple, an individual from age 25 to 75… the possibilities are
endless! VIS staff will carefully review your application to match you with someone
with shared interests.
How long will this partnership last?
Once you are matched, you will have the same local community family/friend until you
complete your studies Stony Brook. For some, the partnership could last one semester;
for others, that could be a couple years.
Have other Questions?
Feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about the International
Friends and Family Program.
Elizabeth Brooke, International Friends and Family Program (IFFP)
Visa & Immigration Services
E-5310 Melville Library
Stony Brook, NY 11794-3393
Phone: (631) 632-1140
Fax: (631) 632-7064
- Neighbors & Community Members