Build Friendships for Interracial Understanding, Intercultural Communication, and Global Awareness

What are I-Pals?

students with arms around each others shoulders

You probably have heard of traditional pen pals, individuals who become companions with one another by regularly writing letters. I-Pals are pen pals with a common goal: to make friends with people who are different from themselves and build stronger inter-connected communities. You and your new I-pal will share letters, emails, and virtual meetings to build a friendship based on interracial understanding, intercultural communication, and global awareness.

What are the benefits of becoming an I-Pal?

two students with hands clasped together

There are many benefits for becoming an I-Pal.

  • I-Pals develop inter-cultural competency skills to build interracial and intercultural understanding.
  • I-Pals improve written and oral communication skills through a variety of modes of communication.
  • I-Pals gain a better understanding of their own identity to grow in their relationships with others.
  • Pals become advocates for global awareness and intercultural understanding.

What can you expect as an I-Pal?

two students hugging in celebration

The I-Pal journey is an exciting one. For the next several months, you will grow in your own understanding of intercultural communication and interconnected communities through intentional friendship building.

What are the responsibilities for I-Pals members to support shared goals?

student looking at laptop
  • Complete an application and survey to be paired with another student who is different from yourself.
  • Prepare to become an I-Pal by reading the I-Pal Guidebook and completing reflective activities about your own identity.
  • Eager to learn about perspectives from other cultures.
  • Attend a Meet and Greet to be introduced to your new I-Pal and plan your correspondences.
  • Begin corresponding with your I-Pal through different modes of communication on a regular basis each month throughout the semester.
  • Occasionally post on social media some of your insights about your journey together as I-Pals.
  • Meet with other I-Pals at a mid-term meeting to discuss your experiences.
  • Complete post-project activities and attend a final reception to celebrate your new friendships as part of a global community.