What Is a Host Family Program?
The Host Family Program at UW-Whitewater is not a live-in program but rather is designed to promote cross-cultural understanding by fostering relationships between UW-Whitewater international students and Whitewater area residents. You, as a member of the local community who are familiar with how things function in the U.S., will be able to cultivate relationships with students from other countries, enabling you to expand upon your personal experience by learning more about the ways of life in other countries and vice versa. Host families may help make the student’s transition into American life go more smoothly. This is often an enjoyable and rewarding experience for both host families and students.
How Do Host Families Get Involved?
Families interested in hosting a student or students should complete the following information and send it to the address indicated or via email to Alicia Haley at firstname.lastname@example.org. You be will be informed of the student(s) assigned to you once the semester commences. If you have any question, please call 262-472-4992.
What Is Expected?
You should contact your student(s) after you are matched and invite them to your home for a meal or on an outing (shopping, touring, et cetera). You may invite them to spend American holidays with you, birthday celebrations, outings to historical sites, occupational and professional experiences, sports events, and elementary, middle and high school programs.
• Host families are not expected to support students financially or to board these students at your home, nor are you expected to become involved in any legal issues (immigration or other issues) they may experience while in the United States.
• Families that apply for this program are expected to make a commitment to the student until the end of the Spring semester, unless he/she is an exchange student and needs to leave before that.
Host Family Tips:
• Names are important. Your student will know you care if you earnestly try to pronounce their name correctly. Some students adopt an American name to make it easier for us. Ask which they prefer to use.
• Prior to having them over for a meal, please make certain to ask whether they have any dietary restrictions – specifically ask whether they are vegetarian (do not consume meat, fowl or seafood), abstain from pork, et cetera for religious or other reasons and try to be accommodating.
• If you have email, encourage your student(s) to use email because students have email accounts at the university. This is a good way to keep in touch. Try to set a pattern of calling your student once or twice a week to see how they are doing.
• Encourage your student to join you at least four times a semester some activity. A home cooked meal is always good. Frequent visits will help your family and the student feel comfortable together and have a more rewarding experience.