FFIS Homestay Students Share What Was The Most Challenging Part of Their Homestay Experience

Bike Riding with Katherin from Peru for Post

The FFIS Homestay Program matches international students with local community volunteers for a short-term homestay when the student first arrives in Lane County. Volunteers open their hearts and home to young adults far from home, helping them to get oriented and settled. The friendships built during that brief period often last well beyond when the student has returned to their native country. Homestay families have created many fond memories for the students that they’ve hosted.

FFIS host families hosted 95 incoming international students prior to the start of the fall term.  This is what some of them had to say about their host family and their experiences in our Homestay Program:

What was the most challenging part of your FFIS homestay?

 I don’t think I meet any challenge with the homestay family.  (China)

 Nothing was challenging I was very comfortable.  (France)

 None.  (Germany)

 Nothing noteworthy as a challenge.  (Myanmar)

 Don’t have any.  (China)

 I haven’t found any part of the program challenging.  (Australia)

 Actually, nothing was challenging for me because my host parents are so nice to me.  (Japan)

Anderton studnet from China2

 Nothing at all. The hosts were very gracious and generous. They really made it convenient for me. Jim and Kathy are really amazing and they really did a stellar job, even going above and beyond.  (Singapore)

Nothing whatsoever.  (India)

 Nothing.  (Japan)

 If I need to pick one, I think it is language. But they always be patient to figure out what l say.  (Taiwan)

I would say the program is wonderful and I can honestly say that the FFIS homestay has made my transition into the United States and Eugene very comfortable.  (India)

 It’s not the first time for me to stay at the host family’s house so I did not feel it was challenged.  (South Korea)

 The four-day homestay itself. Because it was the first time of visiting and staying with a foreign family alone.  (Japan)

I think there’s nothing of challenging part.  But I still have a little difficulty with speaking English, so the conversation with host family was the most challenging part for me. (Japan)

 Getting used to some of the characteristics of their daily life. (Mexico)

Oregon Duck

 For me all was new, so I think this together with the language was the most challenging part. (Italy)

Actually, there’re not many challenges here. They were so nice to me. If there’s one, that is the lack of my ability to speak English. If I could speak more fluently, I would talk a lot. (South Korea)

 I had a lot of things I wanted to tell and talk with my FFIS host family, but I could not put them all in words well because of a lack of my English skills. (Japan)

There are usually more students wanting a homestay experience than there are available host families. If you’re not yet a volunteer, but are interested in learning more about the program, read the FAQ page or e-mail FFIS@UOregon.edu.

FFIS Homestay Students Share What Was the Most Rewarding Part of Being With a Local Host Family

Greeting at the Airport

The FFIS Homestay Program matches international students with local community volunteers for a short-term homestay when the student first arrives in Lane County. Volunteers open their hearts and home to young adults far from home, helping them to get oriented and settled. The friendships built during that brief period often last well beyond when the student has returned to their native country. Homestay families have created many fond memories for the students that they’ve hosted.

FFIS host families hosted 95 incoming international students prior to the start of the fall term.  This is what some of them had to say about their host family and their experiences in our Homestay Program:

What was the most rewarding part of your FFIS homestay?

They are very kind and talk to me a lot. I love them!  (Japan)

Communication with the family. That’s great and I know more about the culture and Eugene. (China)

To have an amazing American family here to help you adjusting to this new country and discovering Eugene.  (France)

That my host family took the time to get to know me and do trips with me, e.g. to Spencer’s Butte and Newport.  (Germany)

Feeling like home in Eugene. Knowing that there’s someone who cares for you.  (Myanmar)

Host Family and Students for Post

They’re so friendly and they took me to shopping and help to move into the dorm. They also told me that they could take me to the store if they’re going. They’re so nice.  (China)

My host family makes me discover a part of Eugene: Saturday Market, Spencer Butte… I taste some American things. They were really sweet!  (France)

Being placed with possibly the nicest people I have met, who went well and truly out of their way to accommodate me and anything I needed to prepare me for college.  (Australia)

I could interact with local people so closely and deepen my knowledge about Eugene and UO.  (Japan)

Getting to know Eugene and the American culture better. They brought me around and have me a very deep insight into life as a duck.  (Singapore)

Sitting together and talking, sailing, eating together, shopping together…  (Germany)

Sieradskis with Miho Sakai

Most of all, I could take a rest after a long trip without any concerns like finding a hotel, unfamiliar food and safety. Also, they made an effort for me to fit in Eugene. They took me places needed for everyday living, which are like Asian restaurants, groceries, a local market, a fair, and park. In the process, they tried to let me learn the area and way to campus from my apartment.  Besides, they have a lot of information about school life and always answered to my question about cultural difference.  (South Korea)

They are kind, patient, helping me a lot like set up an account here and buy the SIM card. And took me to many places to have fun.  (Taiwan)

Dan and Jan Smith were very warm and welcoming. They went out of the way to make sure I got all the support to get going. Dan took me to various places to buy the essential goods and Jan went out of her way to cook excellent food with Indian taste. All my anxieties of moving to a new country were taken care of in the best possible way.  (India)

I got to experience Eugene as a local.  (England)

They told me that I am a member of their family!! I was so happy to hear that.  (Japan)

Margaux from France

My host family were very kind people.  They offered me nice campus tour and helped me to buy some living stuff.  Their warm welcome really encouraged me.  (South Korea)

They were so kind and helpful, and I could rely on them.  (Japan)

They are really friendly. Although they are busy for jobs, they still took good care of me.  When I was upset, they gave me a lot of advice and encouragement.  (Taiwan)

My host family expressed their excitement meeting me right at the first minute. They were always so keen on hearing more about my country and background. Likewise, I found it very interesting listening to their stories. I enjoyed every minute of your talks!  (Uzbekistan)

My hosts are the some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. Each day they had some other activity planned for us to do together. They are also very knowledgeable about Eugene and I especially enjoyed our discussions about politics, food, and music.  (India)

They took me to the bank and shopping to prepare for dorm life. And also they were so kind so I could adapt to my new life smoothly.  (South Korea)

They took me to many convenient places and gave me some information in Eugene, such as shopping malls, restaurants, and transportation.  So now I could have a confidence to live in my dorms by myself.  (Japan)

Photo #1

To have regarded me as one of their family.  (Japan)

I got the opportunity to learn American culture. Thanks to them, I will be able to adopt Eugene easily. My host family is very kind to me, so even after finishing FFIS homestay, they helped me and they invite me to some events! (Japan)

Getting to know people from a different culture and spending time talking with them. (Mexico)

They were very kind to me. (Italy)

The most rewarding part is that they welcomed me with heartwarming hospitality. During the stay, I could feel their love to me. I was just one foreign girl who don’t know anything about the American life, but they showed me how they live their lives and what the American culture is like. They gave me so much love that I can’t even describe it all. For almost 10 days, they helped me in many ways. When I need something, they just gave me what they have or helped me to get it. They tried to show their culture or family tradition and tell me about their lives so that I can relate to them more easily. I really appreciate them for all their help. (South Korea)

I could learn about everyday conversation in English.  I have been able to know about the Eugene through talking and visiting nice places with my FFIS host family. (Japan)

Judging from these comments, FFIS host families once again opened their warm hearts and hospitable homes to young students far from their home and made them feel welcome and loved.  Their short-term hosting definitely created lasting fond memories for the student(s) that they hosted!

There are usually far more students wanting a homestay experience than there are available host families. If you’re not yet a volunteer, but are interested in learning more about the program, read the FAQ page or e-mail FFIS@UOregon.edu.

Japanese Homestay Student Appreciates Her FFIS Host Family

Japan Map

The FFIS Homestay Program matches international students with local community volunteers for a short-term homestay when the student first arrives in Lane County. Volunteers open their hearts and home to young adults far from home, helping them to get oriented and settled. The friendships built during that brief period often last well beyond when the student has returned to their native country. Homestay families have created many fond memories for the students that they’ve hosted.

Read about what a University of Oregon student from Japan experienced as a participant in this program:

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate my host family.  They are the best host family in the world.  As you know, this was the first time for me to take an airplane and go overseas.  I was excited, but I was also anxious about my new life.  So, when I met them at the Eugene airport, I felt relieved. We were together just four days, but for me those four days were wonderful.

At the beginning of the school year, I was disappointed because I found out my English was poor.  But they gave me a call and visited me and encouraged me. Because of their support, the school year has gone smoothly.  And each time when I meet them, they made me happy. I have never forgotten what we did together.

If you’d like to host an international student in FFIS’ Homestay Program, contact Becky Megerssa, UO Liaison, at 541-346-1436 or ffis@uoregon.edu.

This U of O Student From Hong Kong Had A Wonderful FFIS Homestay Experience!

logo_color

The FFIS Homestay Program matches international students with local community volunteers for a short-term homestay when the student first arrives in Lane County. Volunteers open their hearts and home to young adults far from home, helping them to get oriented and settled. The friendships built during that brief period often last well beyond when the student has returned to their native country. Homestay families have created many fond memories for the students that they’ve hosted.

Read about what a University of Oregon student from Hong Kong experienced as a participant in this program:

I am really thankful for having such a friendly and generous couple, Larry and Kristi, as my host family during my exchange in the U of O. They are so nice that they do not only offer help to me during the first few days after my arrival, but also throughout my school terms. I truly appreciate them for helping me so much and treating me like their friend and family member.

I arrived in Eugene on the 31st of Dec, perhaps one of the busiest days of the year. As soon as I arrived, I was so surprised and delighted that I saw a welcoming handicraft hanging on the door. It was the warmest welcome ever. I felt really comfortable, as I could feel that they’re seriously looking forward to meeting me. On New Year’s Eve, they even took me to their friend’s place and we celebrated New Year together

After my school started, I still had a lot of stuff to deal with. I always asked for their opinion as I was really unfamiliar with the environment in Eugene. They always provided me with the best and most reliable answers. Also, they are always willing to give me a ride to different places, such as the grocery store and the mall, which is really appreciated.

Besides, I appreciate that they like to share their thoughts with me. I can always get new insights from them. Kristi also knows Asian culture very well. She definitely delivered a lot of new knowledge to me. I am so glad that I could have the chance to talk with a foreigner about my own culture.

It is my pleasure to have such a warm home in Eugene, I extremely appreciate their generosity and their warm hospitality. I would like to thank them once again.

If you’d like to host an international student in FFIS’ Homestay Program, contact Becky Megerssa, UO Liaison, at 541-346-1436 or ffis@uoregon.edu.

An FFIS Volunteer Shares Her Experience Hosting a U of O Student from France

France

The Friendship Foundation for International Students (FFIS) provides short-term homestay programs at the beginning of the fall, winter, and spring terms.  Incoming University of Oregon international students stay in a local community member’s home for 3-5 days.  They then move to permanent housing in an apartment or dormitory.

In this post, FFIS volunteer June Brooks shares her experience hosting UO international student Lucile de Boisson from France.

How and when did you get involved with FFIS? I have been involved as a host parent for international students since 1989. We became involved through a friend who had been a host parent for a number of years. In the past 21 years, we have probably had around 20 students.

How many times have you participated in FFIS’s Homestay program? If more than once, what other countries were your Homestay students from? Our students have come from all over Europe (England, Scotland, Norway, Denmark, France, Germany, Cyprus, Romania, Austria and Italy) as well as from Australia. Some of them have stayed at the U of O for only one term while others have completed entire degrees here, undergraduate as well as graduate degrees. I am still in close contact with my first student, a young man from Norway, as well as about 10 others. My husband and I were actually able to visit five of our former students while we traveled throughout northern Europe. It was certainly wonderful to see so many of them, to meet their spouses and their children or in two cases, their parents.

What did you enjoy (and/or continue to enjoy) most about your experiences with the Homestay program? The thing that I enjoy most about the program is getting to know the students and having the opportunity to show them around the Eugene area and then around Oregon. We always make it a point to take them to Crater Lake right away in September since the northern entrance to the National Park closes at the first snowfall and sometimes doesn’t open again until late June. We always take them to the coast. We also like to take them to places right here in town that they might not know about (Spencer’s Butte, Mt. Pisgah, the Bijou movie theater). Having them over for dinner on a regular basis, taking them to U of O sporting events, and taking them shopping are other things that are always enjoyable.

Please briefly explain how you may have helped Lucile make that transition from French to American culture? Lucile is one of the most outgoing, vivacious students we have ever had the pleasure of getting to know. She jumped into the American culture and all the opportunities at the U of O with no prompting from us! She has gone sea kayaking at the coast, rock climbing at Smith Rock, snowboarding at Mt. Bachelor, gone whitewater rafting on the McKenzie and she has climbed South Sister to watch the sunrise – just to name a few things she has done in the three months she has been here! She has seen more of Oregon and has enjoyed more of its natural wonders than people who have lived here their entire lives.

What was the most memorable thing you learned about Lucile’s way of life in France? I think that the most important thing we have learned from our students over the years is that the things that we as human beings have in common are much, much greater than any differences we may have because we speak a different language or have a different religion. France is not so very different from the U.S., so there hasn’t been one thing that stands out that we have learned about the French culture from Lucile.

 Was there anything you discovered about your own culture while hosting?  Most of my students comment on how friendly Americans are – how warm and outgoing we are. Depending on where they come from, they see our infrastructure and our way of doing things as very efficient and commendable, or very antiquated. It is interesting to see how that opinion changes depending on where the students hail from.

If you’d like to host an international student in FFIS’ Homestay Program, contact Becky Megerssa, UO Liaison, at 541-346-1436 or ffis@uoregon.edu.

This Chinese PhD Student Appreciates His FFIS Conversation Friend

China Map

The Conversation Friend Program is a unique opportunity for FFIS volunteers to connect with an international student during the student’s first year in Eugene. A student and a volunteer are matched on the basis of shared interests and meet for one hour a week in a public setting.

This is what a Chinese student wrote about his experiences with his FFIS Conversation Friend:

After moving to this new place to begin my Finance PhD at the University of Oregon, I felt so lonely and had a hard time adjusting myself to this strange town. This loneliness ended when I got an email from David talking about our first meeting as conversation friends. The first meeting went well at a coffee shop.

 He is like my father, warming my heart in the cold winter. He is very helpful in my life and is willing to help me anyway that he can. His help to me is much appreciated. And he is so nice and patient, always picking me up at my apartment and spending time with me during his busy schedule.

 His job is very close to my major and we always have a lot of things to talk about. He is a person who I admire—smart and gentlemanly. I always tell my parents and my friends how lucky I was to have the chance to know David. I want to say thank you to him and let him know how grateful I am for his help and time.

 To learn more about the FFIS Conversation Friend Program, contact FFIS Conversation Friend Coordinator June Brooks at 541-513-4086 or JuneEBrooks@gmail.com.

A Host Family To Me Means Having A Second Family Away From Home

Mexico

The Friendship Foundation for International Students (FFIS) provides short-term homestay programs at the beginning of the fall, winter, and spring terms.  Incoming University of Oregon international students stay in a local community member’s home for 3-5 days.  They then move to permanent housing in an apartment or dormitory.

This is what a Mexican student wrote about her FFIS homestay experience:

A host family to me means having a second family away from home, and also feeling safe and loved among nice people. Experiencing a new culture, settling down in a new country, and discovering the astonishing natural beauty of Oregon would not have been possible without my host family.

I have to start off by saying THANK YOU SO MUCH PETE and VINNIE!! Not only did we spend incredible times together, but both of you were also there for me all the time.   Some of the things we did together that I am most grateful for and I will never forget are:

  • movie nights, cooking and having dinner together
  • amazing evenings going to concerts
  • picking me up at the airport
  • visiting the Cascades
  • helping me with my school projects
  • sharing our knowledge and experiences
  • walking the dog
  • meeting the neighbors and making new friends
  • listening to my stories about my country and my family, and many more.

I am so glad I got the amazing opportunity to meet you!

If you’d like to host an international student in FFIS’ Homestay Program, contact Becky Megerssa, UO Liaison, at 541-346-1436 or ffis@uoregon.edu.

This Russian Student Calls Oregon Her Second Home Thanks to Her FFIS Homestay Family!

Russia Map

The Friendship Foundation for International Students (FFIS) provides short-term homestay programs at the beginning of the fall, winter, and spring terms.  Incoming University of Oregon international students stay in a local community member’s home for 3-5 days.  They then move to permanent housing in an apartment or dormitory.

This is what a Russian student wrote about her FFIS homestay experience:

Coming to Oregon from Russia all alone could be intimidating and challenging. I am so glad, lucky and grateful for the FFIS program! I applied to have a temporary host family in Eugene, because I didn’t know anyone or anything about the city when I was in Russia, waiting for my departure to the United States.

Paul and Susie were very welcoming and supportive and have become more than just “temporary hosts” or “volunteers”; they became my close friends and someone I can come to with questions or problems. I like to call them my Oregon parents. We have a lot in common and therefore there are always things we discuss, laugh about, and share. 

Susie and Paul have also hosted at least 18 foreign students before me and I got a chance to meet some of them who haven’t graduated yet. We are like a big international family. We meet every term for breakfast and catch up on happenings in each other’s lives, go shopping together, help each other if something is wrong.

It’s great to have this kind of support when you are in a completely new place, speaking a different language, away from your family and friends from back home. Thanks to Paul and Susie and our international family, I can call Oregon my second home. 

If you would like to host an international student in FFIS’ Homestay Program, contact Becky Megerssa, UO Liaison, at 541-346-1436 or ffis@uoregon.edu.

A Chinese Student Shares Her Thoughts About FFIS’ Conversation Friend Program

China Map

The Conversation Friend Program is a unique opportunity for FFIS volunteers to connect with an international student during the student’s first year in Eugene. A student and a volunteer are matched on the basis of shared interests and meet for one hour a week in a public setting.

This is what a Chinese student wrote about her experiences with her FFIS Conversation Friend:

I am not a socially active person and I sometimes have trouble making friends. Therefore, I do not have too many friends, even Chinese friends. However, last term I met you through the conversation friend program. At the beginning, I could not believe what I saw from the email. “I am going to have a conversation friend!!” I thought. However, I was hesitating. My English was poor. I was not good at finding topics while chatting…I might be silly when I meet you!

However, I decided to meet you on Tuesday. I remember it was January 13th. You were extremely kind and you relieved all of my tensions. I really enjoyed chatting with you. After that you brought me to many places in Eugene that I did not know – 5th Street Public Market, Oakway Center, Pancake House, Yogurt Extreme, BJ’s and so on. I know you were trying to let me know more about this city. Without you, I will probably still be that kind of girl who hides inside the dorm.

Because of you, I know a lot about American culture. We celebrated your birthday with your family and that was my first time to really get closer to an American family. I felt so warm in your family! I was very shy, but your family let me feel the warmth just like in my home country. Everyone treated me so well! Those anxieties of being an international student have been eliminated. You also introduced me to a lot of good events, which I wouldn’t have attended before I met you!

You are definitely the best American friend of mine!! I am not good at writing, but I am trying to describe my appreciation to you. I do not know how long the conversation friend program will last, but I hope we will be friends and still hang out together even if this program finishes! Thank you and bring my best wishes to your great family!!

To learn more about the FFIS Conversation Friend Program, contact FFIS Conversation Friend Coordinator June Brooks at 541-513-4086 or JuneEBrooks@gmail.com.

This Japanese Student Loved Her FFIS Homestay Experience!

Japan Map

The Friendship Foundation for International Students (FFIS) provides short-term homestay programs at the beginning of the fall, winter, and spring terms.  Incoming University of Oregon international students stay in a local community member’s home for 3-5 days.  They then move to permanent housing in an apartment or dormitory.

This is what a Japanese student wrote about her FFIS homestay experience:

I really appreciate this Friendship Foundation program which gives me an opportunity to meet such a great host family. When I first arrived here, I did not know anything about the city, university and how to start my new life.

But they helped by showing me around the city, going shopping, and acclimating myself to life here. After the university started and I moved to the residence hall, they often invited me for dinner and I especially enjoyed spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with them. It was so nice to be able to experience traditional American ceremonies and actually know what they are like. They let me join their family traditions and I enjoyed a huge, tasty dinner as well.

I really appreciate them for giving me a lot of love just like I was their daughter. The most memorable time for me was just chilling at their home and watching a football game together. They always made me feel so relieved, which I have never felt other than my home in Japan and I remember I fell asleep on the sofa every time I visited their home. I cannot thank them enough for all the help, love, and the great foods they have given me. I am sure they are the best host family for me! Thank you so much for everything and I love you so much.

If you’d like to host an international student in FFIS’ Homestay Program, contact Becky Megerssa, UO Liaison, at 541-346-1436 or ffis@uoregon.edu.