by ALEJANDRO REYES VEGA, CSU Public Relations Assistant
Imagine that you are moving to an entirely different country where maybe not even your first language is spoken. Differences will probably keep appearing food, music, stores and the people. This can be challenging at times and connecting with people from other cultures can be a struggle. However, at MSU there is a program to help international students learn and feel more comfortable.
The Friendship Family Program (FFP) is designed for (either incoming or current) international students. FFP is essentially made to assist these students to have a smooth transition from their home country to a new environment. It can be difficult for some of us to adjust into a new way of living. That’s why FFP strives to help international students learn the “American” lifestyle by having another family by their sides. FFP is also the place where passionate culture exchange happens. Students and families get to know more about each other, share cultures, and learn to embrace diversity.
The members of FFP collect applications from students and volunteer families, then match them up randomly. Usually, 1-2 students are matched with one family. At the beginning of a semester, an event is thrown for the participants to meet each other for the first time and share contacts. Throughout the semester, they have get-together events for them to connect with other students and families and have fun nights!
Thanksgiving is a holiday that is not celebrated in every country in the world, therefore, it is for many their first time. FFP helps many international students learn the traditions that make-up Thanksgiving so they can continue to learn more of the “American” culture.
However, not every international student is part of FFP and have to look for other options. In my experience, most of my friends including myself choose to travel to some new part of the United States or perhaps where some distant relatives or close friend lives. In my five years living in the United States, I have been able to visit many states along with their cities. Being international means that going home for the holidays is not always an option. Therefore, home can be that place where you gather with friends, or you choose to spend your vacation at.