International students can often feel lonely and far from home. The Friendship Program aims to partner these students with Canadian families. By initiating these connections, the program helps international students develop meaningful friendships while living far from home. 

The program encourages families to invite these students over for dinner or tea, or simply to meet with them a few times over the semester. The Friendship Program also plans group events, such as hiking to Ptarmigan Cirque in Kananaskis. 

For Mohak Maniar, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Calgary, this was his second time visiting the Rockies. He is thankful for the opportunity to have a break from studying in his basement suite and instead meet other students while getting some fresh air.

“This one was really nice. I really enjoyed it. I mean the weather was perfect for a hike today, so it was really fun,” he says. 

Just over 25 students and staff attended the hike in the Rocky Mountains. PHOTO: ERICA JOHNSON

Kelly Johnson, co-director of the program says they have connected over 600 international students to over 300 Canadian families. The program was established in 2011. 

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