The FFIS Homestay Program matches University of Oregon 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 their 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 China experienced as a participant in this program:
I’m from China. I didn’t think I would be nervous because this is not the first time for me to go abroad. However, I went to all of the places with either friends or my parents until now.
Things are totally different with what I imagined. Although things are really different, I still didn’t feel uncomfortable. That’s all thanks to my “host family”. When I arrived here in Eugene, I saw my host parents Deanna and Rod holding a sign with my name on it. On the way to their home, they asked lots of questions to get to know me better.
At home, Deanna made dinner for me – the best dinner I had here. She also prepared a basket with notebook, pen, mug and popcorn in it. She prepared all of the things for me. I really felt I ended a long trip and went back home, rather than traveled to a totally different country I have never been to. I could never forget that night.
After that, they took me to orientation and helped me get a SIM card. Although their work is very busy, they cared for me a lot. They also took me to the beach on the weekend. I really enjoyed the week I stayed in their home. Then Rod helped me with my apartment. He helped me check everything in my room and move everything to my apartment.
After all of this, it’s not done. They invited me for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They really helped me get into the culture. I didn’t know they will exchange the gifts, so I didn’t prepare anything. However, they already help me prepared for that. We opened the gifts put on our lap and others could steal it. When I opened a package, Deana knew I didn’t like that, so she steals it to make me get another one. Finally, I got a blanket. Deana knew I don’t like the color, so she bought me a new one. I was really surprised when she gave it to me!
If you’d like to host an international student in FFIS’ Homestay Program, contact Becky Megerssa, UO Liaison, at 541-346-1436 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also complete an online host family application here.