If you are a UT-Dallas (UTD) student 18 years or older, and would like an American Friendship Partner (FP) assigned to you, please read and complete this form.
An American Friendship Partner is just that, a person who wants to be a friend to one or more international students. Most often they will be out of school and working. We ask them to be in contact with you at least once a week by phone, text or email and to try and get together with you at least once a month. Some will be willing to do much more.
FPs are not to be involved in your legal, visa, or financial issues. There are offices on campus to help in these areas.
We do not ask FPs to help you with English, but you are free to ask them to correct your English if they observe you saying something incorrectly. Also, we do not ask them to help you with shopping, furniture, etc. but you might ask indirectly if you have a need by saying “Do you know someone who could help me _____?”
You may ask them to help you with vocabulary and grammar on papers, reports, etc., but make sure that anything you ask them to do is within UTD’s Ethical Guidelines. If in doubt, ask your instructor, professor, or adviser.
Americans are a time-based culture, rather than an event-based culture. They tend to stick to their agreed time schedule on appointments, visits, etc. Do not be offended if an American brings a visit to a close due to a time commitment that they have previously made.
Americans are probably more direct than you are comfortable with in your culture, so it is quite OK to say no or I can’t. It is also expected that you accept something that you want the first time it is offered. Americans may offer you something only one time. Many cultures are not this direct, but in America, a direct yes or no is expected behavior. It's better to say no, you can't do something than to say you can and then not show up.
At times you may have to overlook certain comments that an American may make that seem offensive. If an American says something that is offensive in your culture, it is probably because it is not offensive in America. Look for opportunities to teach Americans about your culture and keep a good sense of humor.
You can put any concerns you have about pets on this signup form, but many Americans have pets, usually dogs and/or cats. For example, some families have inside dogs, and some have them outside in fenced yards. If the dog is inside the house when you arrive, you can be sure the dog is quite safe for you. If the dog is outside, or locked in a room, don’t go there unless your Friendship Partner says it is OK. Also, let them know if you are afraid or allergic to an animal.
Remind your FP of any foods you do not eat for health or religious purposes. You don’t want to show up at their house and what they have prepared is something you can’t eat.
Anything you agree on verbally, verify with them in writing, by confirming via email or text message. Most communication errors are verbal.
If they invite you to an event that costs money, and they do not make it clear who is paying, just ask them how much it will cost you. It is ok to let them know that you cannot attend an event, but thank them for asking.
Invite your FP to events on campus, especially international/multicultural events.
Make sure to check with your FP about the best time of the day to call them, and let them know the best times to reach you. Normally you don’t call Americans after 10 pm.
It is considered offensive to ask Americans the cost of things they have, such as expensive items like a house, car, watch, etc.
Please do not smoke in American’s homes or cars even if they say it is ok. Ask to step outside if you need to smoke.
A matching party will be scheduled during the semester to meet your American Friendship Partner, and if you live on campus, and they have the time the first time, show them where you live, or where you take most of your classes, or where your lab is located.
If we are able to recruit your FP before the Matching Party, you will receive an email with the American’s name and contact information and information about the scheduled Matching Party where you will meet your FP. If your FP is unable to attend the matching party, they will contact you to set up a meeting.
When you receive an email withyou of your American FP, send an email to your FP letting them know you are looking forward to meeting them.
VERY IMPORTANT: Attend the Matching Party, or if you are unable to attend, let your assigned FP know so that you both can agree on another meeting time.