Office of International Student Services
International Friendship Program
The mission of the Elizabethtown College International Friendship Program (IFP) is to foster
positive and meaningful relationships between members of the Elizabethtown community and
international students. Through these special friendships, IFP participants will be afforded the
opportunity to navigate cultural, social and religious pluralism, thereby enhancing global
understanding and promoting peace.
International students participating in the IFP will have the unique opportunity to gain exposure
to American culture and customs and may also have the occasion to engage in off-campus
activities and familiarize themselves with scenic Lancaster County and the surrounding region,
Hershey, Harrisburg, and other nearby places. Elizabethtown community members participating
in the IFP will have the opportunity to offer hospitality and friendship to students whose family
members are thousands of miles away, while learning about foreign cultures.
The International Friendship Program is sponsored by the Elizabethtown College Office of
International Student Services. Program participation is entirely voluntary and free for new and
continuing international students who are willing and able to make time in their schedules to
meet at least once a month with an area family, couple or individual. New students will be given
priority in friendship partnerships given their need for more assistance in learning about
Elizabethtown and the Lancaster region and in making new friends.
The Director of International Student Services will oversee the program, and will be coordinated
by the International Friendship Program Student Assistant (a member of the International
What is involved?
International Friendship Program volunteers are families, couples or individuals living within the
Elizabethtown community (or beyond) who are interested in meeting international students and
introducing them to American culture and customs. IFP participants will agree to meet at least
once a month for any common interest activity or social event, such as a birthday party or trip to
Some activities an IFP volunteer may offer their international friend are as follows:
An invitation to a holiday dinner
Participation in family activities
A hike in a national park
Trip to the movies or a museum
Tour of Lancaster County’s Amish
Day-trip to Washington, DC,
Baltimore, MD or NYC
Friendship volunteers will be encouraged to provide international students assistance as needed
when they first arrive at Elizabethtown College, then see or call their students at least once a
month going forward. Volunteers must recognize that international students are students first,
and recognize their need to focus on their studies. They will also respect students’ religious,
cultural, and political traditions which may be different than those of the volunteers.
Both international students and friendship volunteers will be required to complete an
International Friendship Program application form and waivers, which will be located on the
Office of International Student Services webpage. The applications serve as a friendship ‘match-
maker’, so it is imperative to be as honest as possible. Friendship volunteers will also be
required to complete the PA Child Abuse History Clearance and the FBI Criminal History
A special orientation and cultural awareness program will be required of all IFP participants -
international students and friendship volunteers alike.
Once a semester, the Office of International Student Services will host an IFP Appreciation
Dinner on campus. All IFP participants will be invited to attend.
How to sign-up and what to expect
To apply for the International Friendship Program, please visit the Office of International
Student Service’s webpage and submit your application online.
If you have any questions about the program, you may email Kristi Syrdahl, Director of
International Student Services at
The Director and International Friendship Program Student Assistant will provide both
international students and friendship volunteers information about your friendship assignment by
mail once an assignment is made. Your friendship volunteer will call or write to you to arrange a
meeting with you.
The Elizabethtown College International Friendship Program is a new endeavor and the Director
of International Student Services will endeavor to match international students and friendship
volunteers on an ‘as needed’ basis.
If an international student or a friendship volunteer has encountered difficulties establishing their
friendship or have encountered any problems, please contact Kristi Syrdahl at