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.

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.

A Nepalese Student’s Experience With the FFIS Homestay Program

Nepal 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 student from Nepal wrote about her FFIS homestay experience:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my host family for the warm welcome they gave me when I first arrived here in Eugene. I still remember Ellen’s voice calling my name at the Eugene airport.   She made me feel very comfortable at her home. I am really grateful to her and her husband for their hospitality. I had a wonderful time at her place.  She helped me to become familiar with American culture by addressing all my curiosities regarding it.

It was very kind of her to host two international students at the same time. She took us for a bike ride around Eugene and taught us safety rules for riding a bike in Eugene.   She has even loaned me a bike and I am still using it to commute. This bike has been very useful for me, as it not only saves my time, but also keeps me fit.  As I am from a landlocked country, I was very excited when she took us to the Pacific Coast.

Even after I started living in my apartment, she frequently asked if she could help me with anything.  Because of her, my transition into a new place and culture was easier than I had expected.  I am lucky to have a host family like hers.

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.

What a Chinese Student Thinks About her FFIS Conversation Friend

China Map

The FFIS Conversation Friend Program creates deep and lasting memories for international students who get this experience. This is what a female Chinese student wrote about her FFIS Conversation Friend:

You’re pretty! It was the first impression you gave me. I’m jealous that you’re taller and slimmer than me! Just kidding.

Although we just met several times, I really like being with you. I guess you may think I’m quiet? Actually I’m not quiet in my heart, but I don’t know why I don’t talk a lot and it’s hard for me to speak loudly. Anyway, I want to let you know I see you as my friend.

I really appreciate your enthusiastic contributions to non-profit organizations, such as the one to do with women which taught me how to wrap presents and this one – FFIS. And I remember you delivered a speech about disabled women on campus. All of this you’ve done encourage me to learn the rights I should have as a lady and know those people who need help. Thank you for your kind behavior!

Register on eScrip to help FFIS with its fundraising efforts!


You can help FFIS raise needed funds at no cost to you on eScrip!  Just follow the directions below to help contribute:

  • Register your credit and/or debit card on the e-scrip website denoting FFIS as your organization of choice. Go to www.escrip.com and click on Sign up.
  • While you’re there, check out the list of participating merchants and restaurants.
  • When you make a purchase with your registered card, the participating merchants automatically contributes a percentage to FFIS. The percentage varies by business and the amount spent.
  • E-Scrip takes 15%. The rest goes to FFIS by electronic funds transfer.

FFIS is run entirely by volunteers with only some financial support from the University of Oregon.  Your contributions help to support our programs that match international students with local community members for friendship and cultural understanding.

Help FFIS Raise Funds Just By Shopping at Fred Meyer!


You can help FFIS raise needed funds just by shopping at Fred Meyer and using your Rewards Card! Here’s how the program works:

  • Obtain a Fred Meyer Rewards card.  If you don’t have one, stop by the Customer Service desk in any Fred Meyer Store.
  • Set up an online account for your Rewards Card, if you haven’t already.
  • Log in to your account.
  • Link your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to FFIS.  You can search for us by “Friendship Foundation for International Students” or the non-profit number DH509.

Every time that you shop at Fred Meyer, have your Rewards Card scanned with your purchases. Fred Meyer will add up the total points from everyone who has registered with us and send our organization a check every quarter. It’s that easy!

You will still earn your Rewards Points, Fuel Points, and Rebates, just as you do today. This is just an added bonus that helps FFIS financially too!  You can learn more about the Fred Meyer Community Rewards Program here.

Please share this with friends and family so that they’ll know about this opportunity to help our organization, just by shopping at Fred Meyer. The more FFIS earns, the more resources we have available to build friendships with more international students and community members.

FFIS Fundraiser at Fisherman’s Market

May 9, 2018

Fisherman’s Market will donate 20% of all sales to FFIS on Wednesday, May 9th. This includes all products including eat in, take out, seafood orders, alcohol, etc. It is an all-day fundraiser.

Print the flyer below or mention “FFIS” when you order food/purchase product and FFIS gets 20%.

print FFIS fundraiser flyer

2nd Wednesday of Every Month

Fisherman’s Market will donate 20% of all sales to FFIS on the 2nd Wednesday of every month.


Fisherman’s Market

830 West 7th St. Eugene, OR 97402



Welcome Picnic

Each September, FFIS hosts a picnic welcoming new international students to the UO and our community. University and community leaders often attend to give our visitors a warm welcome.


Share Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a unique American holiday that FFIS volunteers share with international students by hosting them for Thanksgiving dinner. Students appreciate the hospitality, good food, and opportunity to make new friends.