July 30 is International (or World) Friendship Day! Originally chartered by the United Nations in 2011, the day celebrates our many shared interests and desires with nations across the globe. So, the hope is that through friendship and creating bonds of trust, together we can combat poverty, violence, and human rights abuses.

Friends or Family?

Morgantown’s first international sibling, the city of Guanajuato, Mexico, was adopted in 2008. Then, in 2010, Morgantown’s Sister Cities Commission (MSSC) organized to promote tourism, economic developments, the arts, and youth programs between the two sister cities.

The city hosts the University of Guanajuato. And West Virginia University and the University of Guanajuato enjoy a lengthy relationship. So, many students complete their study-abroad experiences as part of a joint effort between the two universities.

The Family Grows

In 2012, the City of Morgantown moved to adopt the City of Xuzhou (pronounced “show- zhu”), China in Quan Shan District (in Jiangsu Province) as a Friendship City. But, in 2016, they moved to adopt the “Sister Cities” designation. The two cities share similar economic and educational backgrounds. Historically, they both developed through the Coal Mining industry. Now, both cities are seats of higher education. In fact, West Virginia University in Morgantown traditionally has over 200 Chinese students attending.

Morgantown’s Sister Cities Commission organization hopes to develop cultural and educational exchange programs between the two cities that will benefit both communities.

Celebrate this Year

According to WVU there are more than 100 countries represented by students at the university, including Mexico and China. This year, to celebrate World Friendship Day, take time to try a new international cuisine, sign up for a language class, or learn about hosting an exchange student—or becoming one. Several exchange programs operate in Morgantown. Here are a few, but there are many other programs. Contact the university or your local school district for suggestions:

Need a home to host a student?

If you want to host an international student in the future, but don’t have room in your current home, we can help. Check out these homes with 4 or more bedrooms in the areas we serve.