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Wanted: American Hosts for International Students

Wanted: American Hosts for International Students

Posted: February 8, 2016

The number of students from other countries who are attending Buffalo State increases every year. These students already have arrangements for housing both on and off campus. However, a need still exists for American families who can introduce these students to other aspects of American culture. “We want our international students to experience American culture firsthand,” said Jean Gounard, director of International Student Affairs. “Host families do this by including international students in family dinners, holidays, or special events.”

Participants in Buffalo State’s American Host Family Program are matched with a student based on factors such as common interests and hobbies, which are determined through a simple, one-page application. “The host family can be anyone with an interest in someone from another country,” said Gounard. “Single people and couples as well as households with children or young adults are encouraged to apply.” Once International Student Affairs establishes a match, it is up to the host and the student to agree on joint activities.

Guidelines for hosts include communicating clearly with students, learning some basic information about the student’s home, and meeting at least monthly. “Ordinary American life is interesting to our international students,” said Gounard. “And of course, many of them like the opportunity to practice American English.” The guidelines also remind host families to contact International Student Affairs if questions regarding academic, immigration, personal, legal, health, financial, social, cultural, and religious needs arise.

Anyone interested in participating in this program can find out more by calling the International Student Affairs Office at (716) 878-5331, or by e-mailing Chelsea Kettle, graduate intern, American Host Family Program.

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