Award-Winning Take-A-Friend-Home Program Now Seeking Applicants for 2017

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If you’re interested in traveling to another country, experiencing a different culture or making life-long memories with a close friend, consider participating in Westminster’s Take-A-Friend-Home (TAFH) competition, a cultural immersion program through the Churchill Institute for Global Engagement.

According to an email from Jeremy Straughn, director of the office of Study Abroad and Off-Campus Programs, “TAFH funds round-trip airfare and medical insurance for one international student and one U.S. student to undertake 2-3 weeks of cultural learning and exchange in each other’s home town and country.”

The Take-a-Friend Program, which began in 2006 and received the Innovation in Internationalization Award from the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) in 2016, gives pairs or “teams” of international and domestic students the opportunity to host their friend and share their family experience.

“The Take-A-Friend-Home program is such a unique opportunity that allows you to show your culture and share experiences with a close friend,” said Katie Crawford, ’17, who took Becca Cameron, ’17, to her home in Maastricht, Netherlands, in 2015 and visited Cameron’s home in Chicago, Illinois. “Having them come home with you opens a whole new aspect of friendship, including meeting family, trying local foods and often stepping out of your comfort zone in the best way possible with your friend as your personal tour guide.”

One of last year’s team members Tiffany Crawford, ’17, said she is happy she participated in the program because she learned things that were invaluable and that she would not have had the opportunity to experience otherwise.

Crawford went with Rupa Kumari to New Delhi, Hazaribagh, and Dehradun in India over the summer in addition to hosting Rupa in her hometown, Jefferson City, Missouri.

“I was with a local person willing to help me through it and show me around,” she said. “I have traveled before but the lessons I learned in India were completely new and something I’ll always remember. I would highly, highly recommend the program to all other students. It is such a wonderful program that really fosters relationships between domestic and international students and creates a unique cultural experience that you can’t get from most other colleges.”

Interested students should request the application and documents packet by emailing Straughn, communicate with their families, parents or guardians at home, and schedule a meeting with Straughn before the end of finals week.

Applications will be accepted between Tuesday, Jan. 14 and Thursday, Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. Hard copies are due to the Office of Study Abroad and Off Campus Programs.

Applications will be reviewed by a faculty committee, and each pair will be interviewed before the winning teams are selected. It is anticipated that three to four teams can be funded in 2017.

Contact Straughn or Dean of Global Initiatives Kurt Jefferson with questions.

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