“Hi Dad! How’s it going?” That was the Facebook message that I read from an international student that my wife and I hosted six years ago. I replied with news about what we’d been up to lately. She answered by saying that she felt close to us and asked if she could visit us next month on her vacation if we were available.
FFIS volunteers know that hosting an international student can create a special bond that lasts for years. They become like a second family, making students feel like they’re at a second home instead of living far from their own home. It’s not unusual for students to return for a visit or for FFIS volunteers to travel and stay with their student’s family. Each story is unique, but with the common thread of deep friendships established that bridge time and distance.
Become an FFIS Volunteer Host
Invite a stranger from a foreign country into your home for a few days? There must be some reason why FFIS host families do this for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30+ years? Many host not just one student, but two or more. What do they know that others don’t?
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.
To learn more about the FFIS short-term homestay program, visit the FAQ page, send an e-mail to FFIS@UOregon.edu, or complete an online application. The homestay dates for the spring, fall, and winter terms are shown here.