Mentor Family Program
The Mentor Family Program (MFP) at Marietta College matches new international students with families in the community for cultural exchange and as a means of added support for students with diverse needs.
New international students are eager to learn about American life, on and off-campus. By opening their homes, mentor families provide a glimpse into many aspects of the US culture, such as how Americans spend their leisure time, customs associated with formal and informal dining, child rearing and family dynamics, education, and much more.
Local families also benefit greatly as participants in this program. They have the privilege of taking a lead role in welcoming these special students to the Marietta community. Often, real familial closeness forms and mentors stay in contact with their ”kids” for years and years after their responsibility has ended.
Families with young children have enjoyed the opportunity to introduce an aspect of diversity into their daily lives that otherwise might not exist. Family members studying foreign languages have also been thrilled when we have matched them with a native speaker, with whom they can practice their skills. Most participants, young and old have experienced the rewards of befriending a person from another culture.
The Mentor Family Program is an educational experience, which opens minds and allows both parties to serve in the role of teacher, student and ambassador of their country/culture.
Tips for Mentor Families
Students will not want to be a bother to you and may rarely ask you for help directly (at least in the beginning). Sometimes, they may even refuse your offer for dinner or to visit their home because they do not want to impose.
We encourage you to be persistent and reassure them that you are involved in this program because you want to visit with them. At the same time, you will want to encourage them to be open with you when they have other commitments and are truly unable to accept your invitation.
You do not always need to create activities for your student. By simply inviting them into your home, having them over for a holiday celebration, going grocery shopping, or by taking them to your office, etc., you are educating them on the US culture.
When students visit your home, please share with them the “ground rules” your family members abide by such as, not wearing hats at the dinner table, removal of shoes before entering the home, etc. During long stays, this is more crucial as some students may not realize the inconvenience caused by long hours on the internet or phone, or late night calls or visits from friends.