Rick Obst joined FFIS in 2007 after learning about the organization at the Asian Celebration. A few years later he joined the Steering Committee and became the Chair soon thereafter. He served as the Chair through 2015 when Paul Harvey assumed that role. Matthew Fisher is the current Chair.
His interest in international students probably started when he was an international student himself. He spent nearly a year attending high school in Stratford, New Zealand as a Rotary Exchange student where he stayed with several host families.
He later spent a summer in college as an exchange student living with a host family in the small town of Benia, Spain. Since no one there spoke English, his Spanish language skills had to improve quickly!
“It takes courage to travel far from home to a situation where you’re not sure what to expect,” said Rick. “The FFIS homestay family provides international students with a safe and friendly environment when they first arrive. The student’s parents appreciate that there is a local family that can help their child while at the U of O.”
Rick and his wife Suzanne have hosted students, helped at the annual Welcome Picnic, spearheaded the Ryan Meadows Garage Sale Fundraiser, and more in support of FFIS and its mission. Rick currently serves as the Chair of the FFIS Media Subcommittee.
He graduated from Arizona State University with a B.S. in Management and holds an MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management. He currently provides marketing support at Umpqua Bank for the Home Lending division.
Photo: Suzanne Obst, Rick Obst, and Paola Gomez (Ecuador)