Two friends talk on a nice day.

Friendship Family and Cultural Exchange

Guidelines for Students and Scholars

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Submit the
Student/Scholar Application

or

Download the student application, fill in and return or mail to:

VCU Global Education Office
International Student and Scholar Programs
Attention: Elizabeth Hiett
817 W. Franklin Street,
Room 221
P.O. Box 843043
Richmond, VA 23284

  • The VCU FFACE program is a friendship program in which participants are encouraged to get together to enjoy activities and build a relationship of mutual respect and understanding. This is nota home stay. You will not be living with your host family.

  • Religion plays a key role in the lives of many Americans, and in many of your lives as international students as well. Your host families may participate in religious services/activities and they might invite you attend one of these with them. If you are not comfortable doing so, you can politely decline this invitation – you will not offend them by declining. Just explain to them that you would rather not participate in religious activities. The same goes for you – if you invite your friendship family to participate in a religious service/event with you, and they decline, do not be offended or hurt by that. Proselytizing by either party is not permitted.

  • Some activities that you and your friendship family engage in might cost money. Please do not expect your friendship family to pay for you. Just politely explain that you cannot afford the suggested activity and perhaps propose a less expensive (or free!) activity. Your friendship family may offer to pay for you (for example, buy you a meal or purchase your movie ticket). This is perfectly fine – but be sure to thank them!

  • If your friendship family invites you to their home for a meal, you are not expected to bring a gift with you. If you would like to bring something small with you (maybe something small from your home country), you are welcome to. If you do bring something the first time, you are not expected to bring something with any following invitations.

  • The expectation of VCU FFACE is that you and your friendship family will meet at least once a month. We understand that schedules get busy, but please do make an effort to communicate with your friendship family on a regular basis. If your family contacts you, please make an effort to respond promptly via email or phone, even if you are not able to meet with them. VCU’s Global Education Office will coordinate several group activities every year which you and your friendship family can choose to participate in with other FFACE families and students. We will inform you of these activities at least a month in advance.

  • You are expected to attend a brief International Student/Scholar Volunteer Orientation and “Face-to-Face” reception at the beginning of your program term. Please see the application form and GEO website for these specific dates and times.

  • VCU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, veterans’ status, or disability, and the Global Education Office affirms these values. Submission of your application to participate in FFACE implies your willingness to abide by these values and this policy in all program activities and relationships.

  • If, for any reason, you are dissatisfied with your friendship family and would like to request a change, please contact Elizabeth Hiett (eihiett@vcu.edu, 804-828-6846) to discuss. Please do not simply ignore the situation. We would like to resolve it if possible, or find you and your friendship family a new match.
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