Help students transition to life in the U.S. through International Friendship Families Program

Skyler Xie (CWR '13) pictured with Phyllis Benjamin
Skyler Xie (CWR ’13) pictured with Phyllis Benjamin

Case Western Reserve University faculty, staff and alumni in Cleveland are encouraged to participate in the university’s International Friendship Family Program.

The program aims to help current international students make the transition to life in the U.S., give friendship families the opportunity to learn about other nationalities and cultures, and serve as a springboard for friendships that often last beyond a student’s stay at Case Western Reserve.

This is not a home stay program. Friendship families get together with their assigned student about once a month throughout the school year for a home-cooked meal, events on campus or an outing in Cleveland.

Friendship families can be single people, couples, families with children, etc.

Skyler Xie (CWR ’13) commented about her friendship family experience with Phyllis and Bob Benjamin:

I can’t believe it has just been a year since we first met. I felt like I knew Phyllis and Bob Benjamin for years because of the time we spent together and the way they treated me. Phyllis, Bob and I became really good friends and family. They invited me and my boyfriend multiple times to their home for lunch and dinner with their family and friends. They gave me advice and resources to help me develop networking andsearch for a job. I enjoyed each conversation we had because I learned a lot from their experience and wisdom. I love their lifestyle and believe I’d like to become a person like them. I also invited Phyllis and Bob to my commencement as my family. I have to say it feels great to have a grandpa and a grandma in the U.S., which makes me feel more connected to this country.

Phyllis and Bob Benjamin also had great things to say about their experience:

It has been an absolute joy and privilege to be hosts for Skylar Xie during this past school year. We have grown so very fond of her and of our genuine friendship. She has given us many beautiful memories in our mutual conversations about our differing backgrounds. Skylar has been so very thoughtful and caring, introducing us to her friends and allowing us to glimpse some of her wonderful Chinese heritage. We were thrilled that she invited us to her graduation ceremony held at Severance Hall. She and her friend Steve have given us many joyful moments, visiting with them in our home and introducing them to our family and friends. It has been a true delight to know her and we look forward to seeing her while she works in Cleveland. We will stay in contact with her in the future and we would enjoy hosting other international students.

Complete the online application for the International Friendship Family Program.