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Interested in sharing a meal once a semester with one of 100 international students in the Joplin area? Families are invited to become actively involved with international students through the simple Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? program. Friendship Families agree to have a student over for a meal once a month. We try to keep it simple, so families feel comfortable knowing they can do this. It’s not a weekly or time consuming commitment. Families and students are matched by similar interests, and many continue meeting with their student past the semester or year they signed up for, but it’s not required.  Contact Trish Udell, Internationals Associate, at and enjoy a cross-cultural experience right in your own home! 

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Chinese New Year is a big event that brings together international students, Friendship Families, and the area Chinese community. This event comes with authentic Chinese food made by area Chinese, chopstick-peanut eating contest, dried sea weed eating contest, and a photo booth where attendees can dress up Asian with their friends. A Middle East Feast and Easter lunch are additional events hosted for internationals.

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We host several bigger events each year to bring together international students, Friendship Families, local resident internationals, and language partners.  A Goat Roast is held in the fall and pleases many international students in ways Americans can’t imagine (stuffed goat intestines with sausage are not my thing, but they love it…). Comments like, “This reminds me of home,” are heard as goat and sheep, chicken, rice, and oogali are eaten in a field where over 200 guests sit on blankets around a bon fire.