Friendship Family Activity Ideas

Our students enjoy the Friendship Family Program because it is an informal way for them to experience typical American family life, culture, and traditions.  On average, our participants connect approximately once a month.  While some families may choose to invite their student to special events or dinners, our students equally enjoy low-key interactive activities that give them a chance to get to know your family.  To help give you an idea of what friendship families do, we have compiled a list of free or inexpensive activities that past friendship families have enjoyed.  

If you have a great activity idea to share, please email

  • Go pumpkin picking and/or carve pumpkins together
  • Go to Oktoberfest
  • Visit the Appleton Farmer's Market
  • Go Trick-or-Treating during Halloween
  • Visit an apple orchard
  • Watch a LU soccer game 
  • Watch a LU tennis game
  • Watch a LU volleyball game at Alexander Gym
  • Watch a LU football game at the Banta Bowl
  • Go hayriding at Bubolz Preserve (
  • Attend the Appleton Downtown Christmas Parade
  • Make homemade Christmas cookies or ornaments
  • Visit "Warren's Cranberry Festival", the world's largest, in Warrens WI (
  • Make some homemade s'mores using the microwave
  • Invite your student to your house to help trim the Christmas tree
  • Watch a LU hockey game at the AFIC
  • Watch a LU basketball game at Alexander Gym
  • Try out "curling" at the Appleton Curling Club (
  • Enjoy a hot drink together at a cafe near campus (for example, Lou's Brew)
  • Make a snowman together
  • Decorate a gingerbread house
  • Work on a jigsaw puzzle
  • Downhill skiing
  • Play a classic board game or card game
  • Research your family and/or your student's family history
  • Decorate inexpensive mugs with acrylic paint together for enjoying hot drinks later
  • Make some homemade hot apple cider complete with cinnamon sticks
  • Visit the "Indian Summer Festival: Winter Pow-Wow" in West Allis, WI (
  • Make some homemade s'mores using the microwave
  • Try your hand at ice fishing, or simply go check out the ice shanties on the lake
  • Mail your student a Valentine (contact for their mailbox number)
  • Visit Time Warner Cable Field
  • Enjoy the scenery at the High Cliff State Park (
  • Watch a LU softball game
  • Walk, jog or ride together along the "Friendship Trail"
  • Enjoy a picnic together at one of Appleton's many local parks
  • Watch a LU baseball game
  • Plant a tree or some flowers
  • Go birdwatching
  • Buy a kite or make your own and fly it
  • Make a birdfeeder for a tree in your backyard
  • Go inline or roller skating
  • Make some homemade ice pops
  • Take a walk around the neighborhood and introduce your student to your neighbors
  • Look up tutorials for suncatchers and celebrate the return of the sun
  • Visit a cheese factory such as "Simon's Specialty Cheese" in Appleton
  • Eat a meal together in Andrew Commons or the Café at LU
  • Ice Skate at the Appleton Family Ice Centre or Tri-County Arena (Menasha)
  • Walk, chat, and browse at the Fox River Mall
  • Watch a performance at the Performing Arts Centre
  • Take a road trip to Green Bay and visit Lambeau Field
  • Visit local museums such as "Hearthstone Museum" or the "Trout Museum of Art"
  • Try snowshoeing or go sledding and have hot cocoa afterward
  • Visit a cinema such as "Regal 16" on College Ave to watch a movie together
  • Invite your student to a Netflix or movie night at home
  • Watch a free concert or play at LU
  • Try out a new restaurant in Appleton together
  • Visit the "Barlow Planetarium" at UW-Fox Valley (
  • Cook a meal together that is from your student's country
  • Offer some help if your student's room needs redecorating or rearranging
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen together
  • Visit the Appleton Public Library and read or check out books together
  • Invite your student on your next grocery shopping trip for good company
  • Walk the dog together (or your neighbor's dog if you do not have one!)
  • Take a dance or fitness class together
  • Organize an "etiquette night" and teach each other your country's etiquette over dinner
  • Watch a foreign film together (in a language that neither of you know)
  • Organize a bowling night
  • Visit a farm or zoo
  • Go on a hike in a local or state park
  • Or, as one friendship family suggests, "Just invite your student to the things you're already doing!"

International Student Services will sometimes pass along international campus and community events that may be of interest to your friendship family.  Many of the events, which are free or ticketed are planned by Lawrence International (LI), the international student organization on campus, or one of the many other cultural student organizations.  Many of these events are annual and it is likely your student will invite you to share in the event.  Attendance is not required for friendship families, but if you would like to attend, we will post the dates here as soon as they are announced: 


2017 - 2018 Academic Year

Friendship Family Dinner Potluck                      Sunday, Sept. 17 | 12 p.m. | Warch Campus Center

LI Ethnic Dinner (ticketed)                                 Sunday, Oct. 15 | 6 p.m.*  | Warch Campus Center

Lunar New Year Party                                           Saturday, Feb. 17* | Warch Campus Center

Friendship Family Reverse Potluck                       Sunday, TBD | 5 p.m. | Warch Campus Center

LI Cabaret 2018 (ticketed)                                     Saturday, Apr. 7* | 6:30 p.m. | Stansbury Theatre
                                                                               Sunday, Apr. 8* | 3 p.m. | Stansbury Theatre
                                                                                         *Reception to follow Sunday performance

Exchange Farewell and Reception                       Sunday, Jun. 3
      Waseda/Exchange Student Ceremony           1 p.m. | Warch Campus Center – Cinema
      Reception for all families                                 2 p.m. | Warch Campus Center – Esch/Hurvis

* Indicates tentative scheduling