Carnegie Mellon University
October 09, 2020

Apply to be a Virtual Neighbor through the CMU Office of International Education

In our new era of social distancing, we are all concerned about safe ways to socialize.  So “Virtual Neighbors” is being offered as an adaptation of the Host Family Program this year.  Would you like to be a Virtual Neighbor and be paired with a student or students?  Neighbors get together over Zoom, FaceTime, or email.     

International students, and other members of the CMU community, apply for the Virtual Neighbors Program on the OIE website by filling in a brief Google form, and signing a release.   Students fill out the student application, and non-students fill out the Participant application.  

Virtual get-togethers would take place once a month at mutually-convenient times.  The participants work these dates and times out amongst themselves, and agree to schedule their meet-ups in Eastern Standard Time.  To get the discussions started, everyone will be provided monthly “Conversation Kits”, containing thought-provoking questions and silly topics that should help to break the ice.  Everyone will be invited to tell me how they’ve answered the questions and send in photos of themselves – all voluntary. (Those who send in their feedback will have a chance to win raffle prizes – just to keep things interesting.)

The Virtual Neighbor commitment is for one academic year.  You will be provided with the student(s)’ application when your match has been made.

Many current CMU international students  were immediately enthusiastic about this idea.  They said that at this point, everybody is used to virtual meet-ups so that’s not a barrier.  And even though they’re busy, they welcome the chance to talk about something other than classwork.  They want to get to know other people outside of their cohort, and learn more about American culture.  To see a friendly face and hear a kind word will make them feel less isolated.

You are encouraged to review our website and to submit your application as a participant.  Feel free to contact if you have further questions. Thank you!

How to apply to be a Non-Student Participant

If you would like to be matched with a Carnegie Mellon University student, please take a few moments to complete the following application process. We urge you to provide us with details that will let us know about your interests and the type of student with whom you feel would be most compatible. We ask you to be flexible with your expectations as we seek the best match for you. 

Please submit the following:

  1. Questionnaire. Complete the Google form questionnaire. 
  2. Participant Release. You may complete the release (PDF) and electronically sign it; or print, sign and scan the form and then email it to