Westminster program seeks family volunteers to match with, mentor international students

Adjusting to college life can be hard, but for international students who are also adjusting to a new culture while thousands of miles away from their loved ones, the task might be outright daunting.

But one Westminster College organization is attempting to make that challenge easier while promoting cultural exchange. The Friendship Family Program (FFP), a project that connects international students with Fulton families to provide support and cultural exchange, is currently looking for volunteers for the upcoming school year.

The program began about 10 years ago as a community-organized effort between Southside Baptist and First Baptist churches to help foreign students at William Woods University become acclimated to life in central Missouri. The program was eventually expanded to include Westminster College, and about one year ago was formally adopted by the college’s Office of Multicultural Student Development.

Westminster College Director of International Student Services Courtney Richter said there are 25 families involved with FFP, and each family is paired with at least two students. However, Westminster welcomed 49 incoming first-year international students last year, and the school anticipates a similar amount in 2013, meaning the program needs 10 to 15 new volunteers.

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