International Friendship Programs

Local Friends Program

Local Friends Program is a peer to peer cultural awareness program meant for domestic and international students. One main premise of the program is to introduce international students to the basics of Turkish language and culture while allowing local students to develop friendships across cultures or reconnect with a country they had visited before and learn about a new culture.

Who Are the Program Participants?

The program participants are local and international students, both coming from different cultures, both with a curiosity about other cultures. Local friends are Turkish students who are willing to teach conversational Turkish to international students and introduce various aspects of Turkish culture to their partners. International student partners are exchange or international fulltime students with an interest to learn basic Turkish to help themselves with daily conversations at a restaurant, grocery store, hospital and the like, and who are curious to learn about Turkish culture.

Program Commitments

Participants are asked to attend the “Local Friends Luncheon”. The luncheon date, time and location are TBA. Once matched, students must plan to meet at least once a week to practice Turkish and schedule further meet ups at least two times per month for activities such as a coffee/tea chat, having a meal, visiting local museums, outdoor activities, exploring various neighborhoods of Istanbul, outdoor activities, seeing athletic events, going to local concerts and more. Participants must aim to maintain their partnership for one academic year unless they are one semester exchange students at KU or there is a legitimate reason to separate. There will be a survey each semester to solicit participants’ feedback about the program and participants will be asked to take this survey.

Application and Matching Results

The application is a series of simple questions about your matching preferences and academic information at KU. When you submit an application, the International Community Office will match you based on availability and your preference, however, we cannot guarantee to match all applicants, and depending on application numbers and participants’ roles in partnership there might be more than one international partner for one local friend. The applications are open to all KU students from all levels and programs including ELC Preparatory Program. The deadline for online application will be announced at our website and students will be notified via emails. Applicants who are not matched in the first place will be later notified individually when they are matched with the appropriate partner. Therefore, if you do not receive an email regarding your match, this means there is not an appropriate partner for you as of yet.


Expectations and Requirements

Local Friend at KU:

  • Contact your program match within the first week of being matched,
  • Attend the Local Friends Luncheon,
  • Maintain contact with your international student partner and keep an open mind about your partner’s culture, language ability and preferences,
  • Make regular (weekly/biweekly) activity plans and share this with your program partner in advance and exchange opinion.

International KU Students:

  • Respond to messages and other communication from your match in a timely manner,
  • Attend the Local Friends Luncheon,
  • Share information about yourself and your culture to the extent that you are comfortable with,
  • Be open about activity suggestions coming from your local friend.
  • Invite your program partner to international student events on/off campus

All participants:

  • This program requires mutual commitment to respect one another’s time, values, beliefs, and opinions,
  • Respect each other’s differences and expect differences and that this will be a unique opportunity for open cultural interaction,
  • This is not a paid program. It’s a voluntary program. No partner is expected to pay for the other. Communication is essential to clarify expectations ahead of time,
  • This is not a paid tutoring service or a dating service,
  • Respect each other’s privacy,
  • Participants must commit to continuing their partnership for one academic year. This requirement is waived for one-semester exchange students.

Questions or Feedback? Any questions can be directed to Mert Sanivar,