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iFriend Program

iFriend is a program facilitated by Alliance Abroad Group (AAG), a designated program sponsor, that connects International Participant on a J-1 exchange visitor program with American Friends (co-workers/students/community members).  Founded on the conviction that we should learn from each other, the program provides cultural exchange opportunities for International participant and their American friends.  The goal of the program is to provide International Participants with opportunities to practice and improve their conversational English in a relaxed and friendly environment.

The program helps International participants adjust to a new cultural environment and allows them to gain confidence in English while learning about U.S. culture and building friendships through meetings with American friends.  We hope friendships that will develop between International Participants and their American friends will promote diversity and cultural awareness that will last a lifetime.

This program involves matching an International Participants working in the Wisconsin Dells or Sandusky, Ohio on a Work and Travel program with American Friend. Both American Friend and International Participant can make special requests about matching preferences, but keep in mind our main goal is to have all International Participants who have applied matched with a Friend. American Friends are matched for 2-3 months and are invited to join in cultural events and activities organized by AAG.  Beyond attending AAG events (optional) American Friends are expected to meet with their International Participant once a week for conversations in English.

Please note that for Summer 2015, this program is offered in Sandusky Ohio and Wisconsin Dells only.  We are working on bringing this program to other locations.

About AAG’s International Program Participants

Our International participants are:

  • Undergraduate college students participating on a 3-4 month J-1 Work and Travel program, while on summer break from their studies.  Average Ages 18-23
  • Graduate college students and young professionals on a 6-12 month Intern/Trainee program.  Ages 23+
  • AAG’s International participants come from all over the world with Turkey, Ukraine, Taiwan, Philippines, China being the top 5 countries of origin.  Program participants that apply for iFriend program are excited to learn more about American culture and appreciate every opportunity to learn and improve their English.

Expectations & Guidelines

 

American iFriends participating in the Program are expected:

  • To meet with their international participant once a week
  • To facilitate conversations and discussions that would allow International participants to improve and practice their English
  • To maintain regular communication with their participant throughout the program- returning phone calls, emails and other forms of communication in a timely manner
  • To facilitate the participant’s adjustment to a new cultural environment
  • To introduce the participant to an American culture
  • To be excited and open to learning about a new culture
  • To respect religious and political beliefs of the participant, as well as his/her cultural 
traditions
  • To complete participation surveys/ evaluations

    As an  iFriend of the International Participant, you will not be:

  • Asked to provide financial support to your international participant
  • Asked to have your participant physically live/stay with you

International Participants of the iFriend program are expected:

  • To maintain regular communication with their American Friend- returning phone calls, emails and other forms of communication in a timely manner
  • To meet with their American Friend once a week.
  • To actively participate in conversations and discussions with their American Friend
  • To respect traditions, religious and political beliefs of their American Friend
  • To facilitate a cultural exchange and teach their American Friend about their country, culture and traditions
  • To be flexible in perception of another culture
  • To complete participation surveys/ evaluations

Suggestions on What To Do as  iFriends:

  • Take a lunch break together
  • Go grocery shopping together
  • Watch a movie or a game together
  • Visit local attractions and museums
  • Volunteer together
  • Cook a meal together

Keep in mind your meetings do not have to be formal or involve spending a lot of money. Our participants want an opportunity to practice and improve their English.  All we ask of you is to be patient and willing to help them with enhancing their vocabulary, learn about new culture and gain a friend while at it!

iFriend Program Click Here to Apply

International Participants

 

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