Friendship Family Program

The Washington and Lee University Friendship Family Program matches participating W&L students with local host families. The purpose of the Friendship Family Program is to facilitate friendship and create a sense of belonging within the community for program participants.

Who participates in the Friendship Family Program?

The Friendship Family Program is a completely volunteer program that is open to W&L international students and domestic students involved in the University's Questbridge and LIFT programs, and to members of the Lexington area community. International students typically choose to participate in in order to learn more about American culture and customs through interaction with an American family, improve conversational English skills, and to develop friendships with individuals in the local community. There are dozens of international students at W&L representing a diverse range of cultures and interests. Domestic students participate in order to more quickly integrate into the W&L community, get acquainted with resources available to them on campus, and form a support network integral to their success during their time on campus. Friendship families participate in the program in order to provide a comfortable and welcoming environment to participating students who may be far away from home or who are interested in connecting with community members.

How are friendship families and students matched?

Student and friendship families are selected and matched based on similar interests and preferences collected in the application form. Therefore, we hope that you will be thoughtful as you complete your application form, since we will use this information to create a match. The only information on the application form that will be shared with your match is your contact information. 

How often should I connect with my friendship family or student(s)?

We encourage friendship families and students to connect in person or via messaging at least once a month.

The W&L Campus Events calendar is a good resource to help in finding activities.

Who coordinates the program and who should I contact with questions?

You can learn much more about the program from the Friendship Family Program Handbook.

The Friendship family program is coordinated by the Center for International Education (CIE) and the Office of Student Activities. Questions about the program should be directed to Hunter Swanson at and/or Laura Ulmer at

Ready to apply?