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MSU’s ‘International Friends’ program pairs students with local families in cultural exchange

Ken Eddy and Shixiao Du
Ken Eddy
International Friends host Ken Eddy and international student Shixiao Du

Missouri State University’s International Friends program is a way for locals to connect with students from around the world. The program is always looking for new hosts.

Locals who apply for the program can host international students during their studies at MSU. Students live on campus, but they share meals and activities with their host families.

Joyce and Ken Eddy estimate they’ve hosted 39 students over the years. Joyce Eddy has a piece of advice for those thinking about applying as a host.

“What are you waiting for? You need to be a host family, because it’s so much fun!" Eddie told KSMU. "We have learned so much from these students, and they are just absolutely delightful.” 

Jinzi Fan, who is one of the former international students hosted by the Eddys, now helps coordinate the program at MSU.

“We have developed deep relationships along the years," Jinzi said. "I went to their house for Thanksgiving, Christmas, any big celebration, holidays, etc. Yeah, they are like my parents in the US.” 

More information on the International Friends program can be found online at