Marianapolis Family Network
Every year, new international students come to Marianapolis from countries around the world, including Afghanistan, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, Russia, and others. While the school strives to make every student’s stay a welcome one, nothing replaces the feeling of a home-cooked meal and the comforts of family.
The Marianapolis Family Network was created to help foster an enduring bond between local and international students at Marianapolis. Through the program, international students are connected to an American family, which eases homesickness and enhances their exposure to U.S. culture. The host family gains additional depth of connection to Marianapolis through the program as well: a student with whom they can share their traditions, and from whom they can learn about life in another part of the world. The bonds that form are often long-lasting; some participants end up traveling abroad to visit their international friends in their home countries.
Perhaps most importantly, the students involved mutually identify one another in order to become officially “paired” within the program. Day students and international students have several weeks to get to know each other within the context of school life; they interact in classes, at meals, and in athletics or drama. Subsequently, they communicate with the director of the Marianapolis Family Network and indicate the peer with whom they’d like to be connected. This allows for sincere, organic friendships to form with the students and families alike.
The MFN does facilitate some formal programming during the year. All affiliated families and students attend a dinner together in September. This official kick-off of the program allows parents and siblings to get acquainted. The Network also provides online training and support for families if they have questions that arise over the course of the year.
Though each family shares the MFN experience with students in different ways, many parents choose to invite the international students to their homes for special meals or around the holidays. Often, an American student will ask his or her international peer to stay overnight at their house nearby. International students can typically expect a range of support, including birthday treats, a ride to/from the airport, or a care basket at exam time.
Now in its seventh year, the Marianapolis Family Network is a dynamic program that enriches the Marianapolis experience for local families and international students alike.