APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN FOR THE 2016-17 ACADEMIC YEAR!
APPLICATIONS CLOSE AT 9:00 A.M. ON TUESDAY, SEPT. 13TH.
What is the Global Exchange Friendship Program?
The Global Exchange Friendship Program connects international students at Purdue University Northwest with current PNW students, individuals and families from the Northwest Indiana region for the purposes of communication, cultural exchange, and enjoying activities together. When the connection is made between international students and local friendship volunteers, there is opportunity for true cultural exchange. The international students who choose to participate in this program are those who wish to develop a genuine connection with Americans who are willing to offer the gift of friendship.
This is NOT a live-in (or “Host”) program. There is no financial obligation associated with this program. Participants of this program are asked simply to get together at least once per month over the course of the academic year for coffee, a meal, movies, shopping, etc., in order to develop their cross-cultural connection and to share/exchange aspects from their respective cultures.
Sound familiar? We’ve been running this program for a few years already! You might have seen a news release on this program circulated by University Relations, and an article published by the NWI Times back in August of 2013.
What are the Benefits of Participating in the Global Exchange Friendship Program?
Both international students and American friendship volunteers will benefit in countless ways by participating in the Global Exchange Friendship Program.
For Local Friendship Volunteers:
- Meet students from various countries around the globe and expand your horizons
- Enjoy the rewarding experience of helping international students better understand American culture and make the most of their American college adventure
- Learn a new language or practice foreign language skills
- Establish a potentially long-lasting friendship and connection with someone who can be visited or contacted in his/her home countries
For International Students:
- Develop a connection with a American friend or local family
- Learn about American culture and “the American way” firsthand through experience
- Practice conversational English outside of the classroom
- Get to know the local area and enjoy all the best that ‘the Region’ has to offer – people, food, entertainment and attractions
What are the Expectations and Responsibilities?
Cross-cultural exchange and friendship building should be both a rewarding experience and a lot of fun! All it takes is a little time.
- Friendship partners are asked to get together and interact at least once per month, however meetings can be more frequent depending on participants’ preferences and availability
- Keep in contact and maintain regular communication via telephone, email, Facebook, and so on
- Respect each other’s culture, customs, beliefs, religion, etc.
- Notify the program coordinator with any questions, problems or concerns related to the program
- Complete and submit to the coordinator a program evaluation at the conclusion of the term
Remember, there is absolutely no financial obligation associated with the Global Exchange Friendship Program!
What is the Length of Commitment?
It is expected, or at least requested, that participants of the Global Exchange Friendship Program maintain the cross-cultural friendship for the full length of the academic year (September – May). However, if circumstances change which would prevent either participant from keeping this commitment (such as a school transfer or location change/move), please notify the program coordinator and friendship partner as soon as this information is known.
Can I Still Apply if I am Only Here for a Few Weeks or One Semester?
We have designed a special, separate program to accommodate visiting, exchange, and short-term international students who cannot commit to the full academic year length of the Global Exchange Friendship Program. This modified version is simply called the Short-Term Friendship Program, and applications are accepted year-round, as PNW is also experiencing large intakes of short-term students year-round.
International students who apply should know their arrival and departure dates, and those will be requested within the application to establish eligibility to participate. If you are an international student here at PNW for even just a few weeks, or up to one (1) full semester but no longer than one, then you are eligible! Check out our Short-Term Friendship Program page for more information and to apply.
If you are a domestic/American long-term student at PNW and would like to serve as a short-term buddy either in addition to your GEFP participation or instead of the GEFP, we welcome your application at any time. You can elect this choice in your iPal volunteer program application. To learn more and apply to be an iPal, check out our iPal page.
What is the Application Process?
Before the start of every Fall academic semester (usually by mid-August), you can complete an online application that is available on this page (see links at the top). As this is a year-long commitment meant to last from September until May of next year, we only recruit annually before Fall semesters.
The enrollment period for the 2016-17 academic year has OPENED:
Both applications are scheduled to close at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 13, 2016. This is two days before the Orientation Session/Welcome Party, and applications will not be accepted past this date.
What Happens After I Apply?
- International Programs staff will review your application, contact you with any additional questions, and begin the matching process internally.
- You will be contacted with an invitation to attend a mandatory Orientation Session/Welcome Party on Thursday, September 15th in order to be matched with your international friend(s)/friendship volunteer.
- As part of the Orientation process, American friendship volunteers from the community (non-employees of Purdue Northwest) must also complete a volunteer agreement and additional paperwork to consent to a background check, both of which are available online, and can be submitted before or during the Orientation Session/Welcome Party (copies will be available at the event, and can easily be filled in on-site).
- At the event, you will meet your new international friend(s)/friendship volunteer!
- Participants will be contacted by the program coordinator soon after the Welcome Party with information containing their friendship partner’s contact information (in case they did not attend), and will be contacted periodically throughout the length of the program.
What/When is the Orientation Session/Welcome Party?
Upon the application deadline and completion of the internal matching process, participants will be contacted to attend the event, which is scheduled to be held Thursday, September 15, from 6:30-9 p.m. in Alumni Hall (3rd floor Student Union Library Building). During the event, participants of the Global Exchange Friendship Program will receive a more in-depth overview of the program, and complete additional paperwork as needed. There will also be an opportunity for questions, but the most exciting part is that participants will get to meet and interact with their new Friendship Program partner(s)!
Who Can I Contact if I Have Further Questions?
If you are current participant, are interested in participating in the program for the next academic year, have any questions, are going to be departing/graduating before the program term ends, or need to change/cancel your current application, please contact the program coordinator Kristen Bunner at 219-989-2265 or email KBunner@pnw.edu.