Be a First Friend to an international student

International Student and Scholar Services is recruiting hosts for the First Friends program. Hosts are matched with incoming international students and connect with them throughout the student’s first year.

First Friends is a family program that matches new international students with a local community member. Students and their partners commit to connecting at least once per month during the student’s first year at Vanderbilt. This can be done in many ways: a phone call to check in, a picnic in the park, a movie night, etc.—whatever works best for you and your student. All Vanderbilt University staff and faculty are encouraged to apply.

First-time partners will be asked to attend an orientation session over Zoom in the early fall, which will cover the basic expectations of the program. Matches will be made in late August–early September, and partners will be able to meet their students in person at an event early during the fall semester.

Interested hosts can complete an application here. Applications should be completed by Aug. 12.

This program provides a rich cross-cultural experience but is especially valuable to students as an additional support throughout their transition to Vanderbilt. Many students are eager to learn more about American culture and make local friends when they arrive. Many students and partners keep in touch years after their initial pairing.

Learn more about the First Friends program.