International Students – Volunteers

We believe that God is bringing the nations to our doorstep and we have the incredible opportunity to show the world His love from right here in Fullerton! Some of the ways that we do that are through one-on-one friendships with the students, parties and events, and our Furniture Giveaway event.

Below is some information on each, along with some other ways that you can get involved.

Friendship Program

Students often arrive to the United States knowing no one and with little understanding of the culture, which can make it hard to transition to life here. We have the opportunity to reach out to students, offering friendship and care in a time when they need it most. We have seen such wonderful things come out of these friendships and so often hear how the students leave feeling like they have gained a wonderful family in the United States…

“The time I spent in America was just awesome. I am so grateful I could experience so many things and meet so many lovely and great people. Some already visited me in Germany and I will be in America soon to visit them again soon too!”

“It was a special experience for students like us to make friends with local family. I really appreciate all you have done for us.”

Through something as simple as friendship, we can make a big impact in these student’s lives. To learn more about being an American friend, email Sonya Baffa at

FAQ’s on being an American Friend

What is the time commitment for becoming an American friend?

  • We know that you are busy and our students are as well. We typically find that getting together with your student(s) once a month seems to be a pretty reasonable (and fun!) commitment on both ends.  
  • On the off weeks, we would love if you would do a quick check in with your student (via phone, email, text, Facebook, etc.) just to see how they are doing and to see if there is anything that they need, any questions that they have, etc.
  • Pray for your student!  

Do the students live with me?

  • No, the majority of the students live in the dorms, apartments near the campus, or homestays with local families. You are free to invite the students over for dinner or a get-together, but the students in our Friendship Program do not stay or live with you.

How long are the students here for?

  • Anywhere from one semester to four years, depending on the degree and program of each student. The student will indicate on their application how long they plan to be in the country, which gives you the ability to decide whether you would prefer a short or long-term friendship.

How do I pick a friend?

  • The first thing is always to pray over your match! We also prefer gender-specific matches (males with males and females with females). From there, we encourage you to pick students based on countries, hobbies, and fields of study that you are passionate about, as those will be fun points of connection between you and your student(s).

Can I have more than one friend?

  • Yes! If you feel comfortable, we would encourage that you befriend more than one student, as we typically find that it creates a more comfortable and relaxed environment for the students. The majority of cultures are naturally more community oriented than we are used to, so don’t be surprised if your student asks if they can bring others to your outings. If this is the case, we ask that you be flexible and invite them to join along (if that is logistically possible).

Do the students speak English?

  • All of our students have passed their TOEFL test, which is the English language proficiency exam that allows the students to study at University here in the States. However, their English competency levels will range based on the student. We encourage you to be open to helping the students in whatever level they are at, as it is a great opportunity to connect with them and help them learn English.


Furniture Giveaway

At the beginning of the fall semester, we host a big furniture giveaway where we are able to gift newly arriving international students with furniture and home good items to help get them started in their new homes in America. This is a huge blessing to students, as they often arrive with little and it can be quite costly to furnish and supply their apartments with necessary items. It really is one of the most fun events of the year!

This year, the furniture giveaway will be held on the morning of August 19, 2017 on north campus. There are many hands and helpers that go in to making this impactful day a reality and we would love for you to be a part of it. To sign up to help, please contact Janette Petrie at

Furniture Donations

As mentioned above, we collect hundreds upon hundreds of furniture and home good items throughout the year so that we can make the Furniture Giveaway happen. To donate any furniture or home good items, call Randy Brunelle at 909-720-1851. *Unfortunately, we can no longer accept beds (mattresses or frames).

Parties & Events

We have a number of events throughout the year, which provide a great opportunity to engage with the students and learn some fun things about each other’s cultures along the way. Below is a list of scheduled events:

International Student Christmas Party—Friday, December 1, 2017, 6:30–9:00pm

EvFree Fullerton—The Commons: 2801 Brea Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92835

We are excited to invite all our International Students to a Christmas Party! This is a religious event as we will share the reason we celebrate Christmas. Please come join us and welcome in the season with fun, friendship, and good food! American Friends are encouraged to bring their student and enjoy the festivities!

Some of the ways that you can participate in the evening:

  • Table Hosts—One of the best ways to connect with the students throughout the evening is by serving as a table host for a group of students. For this role, all we ask is that you come ready to enjoy an evening with your table of students, help make conversation, answer any questions the students may have, etc. Email Sonya Baffa,
  • Dinner Servers—We have found that the best way to connect with students is through food, so we always try to provide a delicious meal at all of our events. If you would like to help set up, serve, and clean up dinner, email Sonya Baffa,
  • Transportation—Help to shuttle students to the party from one of the two shuttle stops located near CSUF. Of course, you are welcome to stay for the party afterwards as well. Please email Carol Holte at to be one of our wonderful shuttle drivers.


If you have any additional questions, please contact Sonya Baffa at or 714-257-4333Thank you again for your interest in and heart for international students. We look forward to getting to serve alongside of you!