New Zealand Student Shares Her Experience in the FFIS Homestay Program

New Zealand Map

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.

Read what this University of Oregon student from New Zealand had to say about her FFIS homestay experience:

Patricia was the most wonderful host I could ever have wished for. She went above and beyond what might have been expected as a host mom. It wasn’t long after she first picked me up from the train station, with her dog Shambhala, that she became not only my host, but also my good friend.

Our first stop when I arrived was a tour of the Eugene Saturday Market. Over the next few nights we shared many dinners at local restaurants, as well as staying in and enjoying delicious home-cooked food and a glass of wine. She took pride in showing me the best parts of Eugene. Patricia let me stay with her longer than expected, as it took me a while to sort out a place to live. She made me feel completely welcome and relaxed throughout my stay with her. 

Patricia’s kindness and friendship did not stop when I left her house and moved into my own apartment. She lent a bike and helmet to me during my whole semester there. When I moved out, she provided me with sheets, pillows, a comforter, blankets, towels and a lamp, all of which I borrowed from her house.

 She supported me throughout my time in Eugene. When I was feeling down, she would always be there for me. She was genuinely one of the best friends I made on my whole trip, and I value her friendship dearly.

 I would like to say thank you to Patricia for showing me the best of Eugene. I hope we will continue to be friends, and hopefully see each other again, either in the USA or New Zealand – where she certainly has a place to stay!!

The FFIS Homestay Program is for incoming UO international students starting the fall, winter, and spring terms.  If you’d like to host an international student in FFIS’ Homestay Program, contact Becky Megerssa, UO Liaison, at 541-346-1436 or

A Host Family To Me Means Having A Second Family Away From Home


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 Mexican student wrote about her FFIS homestay experience:

A host family to me means having a second family away from home, and also feeling safe and loved among nice people. Experiencing a new culture, settling down in a new country, and discovering the astonishing natural beauty of Oregon would not have been possible without my host family.

I have to start off by saying THANK YOU SO MUCH PETE and VINNIE!! Not only did we spend incredible times together, but both of you were also there for me all the time.   Some of the things we did together that I am most grateful for and I will never forget are:

  • movie nights, cooking and having dinner together
  • amazing evenings going to concerts
  • picking me up at the airport
  • visiting the Cascades
  • helping me with my school projects
  • sharing our knowledge and experiences
  • walking the dog
  • meeting the neighbors and making new friends
  • listening to my stories about my country and my family, and many more.

I am so glad I got the amazing opportunity to meet you!

If you’d like to host an international student in FFIS’ Homestay Program, contact Becky Megerssa, UO Liaison, at 541-346-1436 or