On Jan. 24, more than 20 new international scholars from more than 50 countries around the world will begin their studies at Buffalo State. Nearly 300 international students from more than 50 countries each year study at Buffalo State College, according to Dr. Jean Gounard, director of International Student Affairs Office.
Gounard said host families help share American customs and traditions with the students by spending time with them informally. The students do not live with their host families, he said, but share occasional meals, celebrate holidays and birthdays together, go sightseeing and attend sporting events.
“The host families help teach these students about our customs and our society. Most often they help with advice on everyday living, such as using public transportation to get around the city, and where to buy clothing and other necessities.” More complex questions such as financial concerns, employment restrictions and immigration and visa problems, Gounard said, are managed by the International Student Affairs Office.
“The host families make the students feel at home, ease their transition to life in another country and help give them a sense of belonging,” Gounard added.
International students hail from around the world; Gounard said that because of the increasing number of non-European students, host families can be expected to be paired with someone from a culture appreciably different from theirs, “but I do not think that will trouble people who live in and around the City of Good Neighbors.”
Those interested in joining or obtaining more information about Buffalo State College’s host family program should contact the college’s International Student Affairs Office at (716) 878-5331.