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Academic English Studies

Community Friends Program


What is the Community Friends Program?

It’s warmth, smiles, and wonder. It’s a gateway to your next newest friend.

The Community Friends is an optional program that matches LC international students with local residents to help them feel welcome and at home during their time at LC.  

Students from around the world have the chance to practice their English, learn more about local culture, and gain new perspectives on their own ways of life. They experience how families and individuals live in the USA, increase their opportunities to explore off campus, and are able to meet people of various age groups. The local residents volunteers get a chance to learn more about similarities and differences between various customs and traditions. It’s a chance to serve as an ambassador for Portland, and maybe learn a few words in another language!

What do Community Friends and international students do together?

They explore our region and enjoy comforts of home. Here are some ideas: 

For tips on having a successful Community Friends experience, families can look here or students can look here.  

The Community Friends Program is:
  • Easy. Easier than a homestay—most students live on campus in a residence hall.
  • Flexible. students and families get together based on mutual availability and interest. We suggest volunteers reach out to students and check in once or twice a month.
  • Optional. Interested students ask to participate in the Community Friends Program. 
What do the students and volunteers have to say about the program?
  • From our coastline in Seaside, Oregon to Tokyo Japan! I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to host a Lewis & Clark student from Japan this last year. We were able to cook together, play together, shop together and just get to know each other.  We were also thankful that we could take it to the next level!  Last May, Misaki returned home and I was able to join her  to play together, shop together and eat together in her city, Tokyo.”  (Click the link above to see photos.) 
  • “The program is full of new experiences and great people.”
  • “We have had a wonderful time…and hope to share Portland with more amazing students.”
  • “They want to show us the values and traditions Americans have and help us accommodate more easily here.”
  • “We volunteered to be (Community Friends) because we were excited for the opportunity to expose our children to other cultures. It has been fun for them. Our student became like a big brother to them and our family plans to visit him in his home country some day.”
  • “The program is absolutely wonderful.”
  • “One of the best moments for my wife and myself was when we realized that we had stopped introducing our (Community Friend) student with the full explanation and just started introducing him as our friend.”
  • “It’s easy for me to spend the time with them like a true family.”
  • “Being a (Community Friend) is a great excuse to make it to campus regularly and a wonderful way to stay in touch with Lewis & Clark events. We still feel connected to campus life, feel comfortable there, and think fondly of our lives at LC as students. Befriending LC International students has given us friends in many different countries and makes us feel connected to the world — all through our alma mater.”
How can I sign up for the Community Friends Program?

Students can request Community Friends here.  

Local residents can sign up to serve as Community Friends here. Individuals, couples, friend groups, and families are welcome to volunteer!

For more information, please contact:

Amy Baskin, Community Friends Program Coordinator
phone: (503) 432-7186
fax: (503) 768-7320
0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, MSC 125
Portland, OR 97219