What is BFF?
Borderless Friends Forever promotes world peace through cultivating opportunities for cultural and educational exchanges.
Founded in January 2014, BFF is an exchange student organization created out of a true passion for international education. With the national office located in Cary, NC, BFF maintains a network of dedicated and trained community advisors in communities throughout the United States who provide program services at the local level to participants, host families, and schools. Community advisors and the national office are committed to providing the best possible exchange experience to participants, host families, and schools. Something that sets us apart from other organizations is the fact that we require our community advisors to see our students in person each month. This BFF standard is well above the minimum necessary by the US Department of State. It is needed to build a strong relationship with our students and families, and the strength of this relationship allows for program effectiveness.
I founded the Borderless Friends Forever Foundation (BFF) because of my passion for international education, born on a whim. In August of 2006, my life changed forever when my family and I decided to host Karolin from Germany. Little did I know then, but my journey was about to take an unexpected turn.
Karolin brought with her something extraordinary that changed me. It wasn’t a gift I needed to open but one to which I needed to be open. She came with a curiosity and an excitement that renewed my world. Everything I did became new again because she had never seen it, done it, or heard it. It made me see my world with fresh eyes. Even a trip to the grocery store suddenly seemed exciting!
With this excitement came possibility. I became intrigued by the relationship between the host family and an exchange student. Letting our sweet KK return to Germany was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to do. It became evident that the only way to survive the “loss” was to host again. Enter Christopher, also from Germany—similarly, a lovely experience, albeit different. Chris is an amazing young man with much to offer to the world, and he taught me so much about myself.
Well, I was hooked, and my family graciously jumped on board with my passion, and we have now hosted 35 exchange students. Twenty-one of these beautiful people; Karolin, Christopher, Mon, Kike, Noemi, John, Seung Ju, Nora, Yvan, Rubens, Gabi, Maki, Niki, Aliah, Xhoni, Ali, Andi, Daniel, and Joan have been with us for an entire school year, while many others were here for short-term programs. We have recently added Bartu and Omar to our sizeable international family, and they are enjoying their stay with us. These kids have changed our lives, and we are eternally grateful that their families shared them with us!
Through my journey, I have helped many families and students have the same and helped create relationships I know will last a lifetime. As much as I’ve enjoyed my students, I have equally appreciated meeting so many wonderful host families like you, who have opened their hearts and homes to students! I am thrilled to welcome you to this beautiful experience and encourage you to make the best of your time with your students. It will go by quickly!
In addition to all the wonderful students and families that have touched my life, I am equally lucky to know a team of dedicated professionals who constantly strive to ensure these students’ safety and well-being. These folks are tirelessly dedicated to their students and host families. They understand our mission, believe in what we do, and are proud to be a part of this unique experience. I am proud to know them and even more proud to call them part of my team!
This passion, created by this beautiful journey, has allowed me to create Borderless Friends Forever. I am incredibly excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. Thank you for taking this journey with me.
The BFF Standard
With the national office located in Cary, NC, BFF maintains a network of dedicated and trained community advisors in communities throughout the United States who provide program services at the local level to participants, host families, and schools. Community advisors and the national office are committed to providing the best possible exchange experience to participants, host families, and schools. What sets us apart from other organizations is that we require our community advisors to see our students in person each month. This BFF standard is well above the minimum necessary per the US Department of State’s standards. It is needed to build a strong relationship with our students and families, and the strength of this relationship allows for program effectiveness.
- The US Department of State designates BFF.
- The IRS recognizes BFF as a public not-for-profit educational exchange organization.
- BFF maintains full listing status by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET).
Communication is critical to understanding differing perspectives and ensuring students and host families have a fantastic experience. During the exchange year, our community advisors live near the host families and students they oversee. They provide one-on-one support for all parties during the exchange and prioritize that each individual has a successful experience.
The exchange experience is never a one-size-fits-all situation. Our team looks at each student and host family as individuals and treats them as such. BFF fosters long-term relationships by providing support, one-on-one meetings, group events, and consistent check-ins.
BFF has a long track record of success. Our dedicated advisors are embedded in communities nationwide to provide each program participant with a safety net of support. Many team members started as cultural exchange students, advisors, or hosted themselves, and their work is equally a calling as it is a job. BFF supports host families, students, and natural families every step of the way.