Skip navigation

UCO Seeks Metro Families to 'Adopt' International Students for Fall Semester

Aug. 12, 2014 

Media Contact: Lindsay Houts, Staff Writer, UCO University Relations, 405-974-2121,


The Centre for Global Competency (CGC) at the University of Central Oklahoma is offering a unique opportunity for Oklahoma City metro area families to get to know one of Central’s more than 1,200 international students through its Community Responding to International Students Program (CRISP).

CRISP pairs an international student with a local family for monthly fellowship. The program is not a homestay, rather, a once-per-month commitment to spending time with a student from one of the nearly 80 countries represented at Central.

“Many international students have a hard time adjusting to the United States and become quite lonely. To help welcome them to the U.S., Central has set up the CRISP program to cultivate friendships between international students and American families,” said Heidi McKee, international programming assistant for the CGC.

The program gives the university’s international students firsthand experiences with American families and allows local families to learn about their student’s country, culture and traditions.  

“CRISP has been a great experience for us — we’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the students we’ve gotten to know over the years our family has been a part of the program,” said Marcia Russell, a CRISP participant who along with her husband and two teenage sons have been matched with students from Spain, Korea and Malaysia.           

Through the students the Russell family has been paired with, they have also befriended students from England and Nepal. They now open their home during the holidays to students who may not have a place to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas.           

“The program has broadened our children’s perspectives of the world. You don’t necessarily have to travel to be exposed to different cultures and ways of life — the opportunity was right here in our backyard,” Russell added.

CRISP families can spend time together through individually planned activities, or through one of the Centre for Global Competency's monthly CRISP events like kayaking, pumpkin carving and tailgating.

For more information or to apply, visit, or contact McKee at 405-974-5577 or The deadline to apply for the fall semester is Aug. 18.