The International Student Services and Programs office at California State University, Fresno is seeking local families to join its International Friendship Program.

The program matches international students with American families to promote understanding and friendship. The program’s motto, “Let’s build a bridge around the world,” expresses a commitment to international friendships, said Carol Munshower, director of the International Students office.

Fresno State is home this year to 724 students from 75 countries.

“Now, more than ever, it is important that we get to know people from around the world and allow them to understand American culture,” said Munshower. “We would like for every international student to have an experience in an American home with an American family.”

Currently, 150 families participate in the Friendship Program. Families are encouraged to include their student in family activities, outings, hobbies and an occasional dinner. This is not a live-in program.

In addition, some families want to assist students when they first arrive in Fresno from overseas. Munshower said that often, international students arriving in Fresno need to be picked up at the airport, bus station or train station and taken to their dorm, apartment or a motel. Sometimes they need a place to stay for two or three days while looking for permanent housing. The university expects approximately 150 new students for the spring semester; they will arrive the second week of January.

For information about the program, contact the International Students’ office at 278-2782 or Dick DeKoning at