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.
FFIS Volunteer and Steering Committee Secretary Suzanne Dassenko shares her story about being a worried “Mom” after she and her husband Bill hosted an Australian student for a few days:
We hosted a young man, Skye, from Australia, for just one term this past fall. After leaving Eugene he was going to travel in South America. Since I was his “American Mom”, I was a little concerned about him traveling in some of the countries. I asked him if he would check in occasionally so that I would know that he was ok. And he did.
About once a month, he would find wifi that would enable him to send some photos of where he was currently traveling and let me know that he was OK. I heard from him just several days ago when he told me that he was finally headed back home to Australia.
This is what he wrote: “Tonight, I board my plane back to Australia so that brings to an end 7 months of travelling/studying abroad. I just want to thank you again for not only being a part of it, but also giving me some of the best memories of my time spent away. I can honestly say I miss you guys. Hope you are well and I’ll speak to you when I’m back in my homeland of Australia. Regards, Your Aussie son.”
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.
If you want to touch the past, touch a rock.
If you want to touch the present, touch a flower.
If you want to touch the future, touch a life.