The Friendship Foundation for International Students Homestay Program matches University of Oregon international students with local community volunteers for a short-term homestay when the student first arrives in Eugene and 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 surveys the students after their stay. This is what some of them had to say about their host family and the Homestay Program:
What was the most rewarding part of staying with a host family?
- My transition to a new country couldn’t have been smoother. I am still in touch with my host family and they’re amazing people.
- They are warm and made me feel at home.
- Making friends with my host and hostess.
- Getting to know the American culture and lifestyle. They made me feel at home.
- Getting to meet new people and having support in the first few days (and also after that).
- Their warmth and hospitality
- It is very helpful for an international student who has no family In Eugene.
- My host family always cares and helps me with various things.
- They were so kind. They drove us to campus during orientation.
- I still keep in touch with my host mother and we hang out together three or four times a month.
- They treat me like family members so that I’m not lonely during my first term.
- They always supported me and they invited me to their Thanksgiving dinner.
- My host mum takes me on a lot of day trips and hikes to surrounding areas. Therefore, I am seeing so much of what Oregon has to offer. We are very similar in the way that we both love exercise and keeping fit, so it has been a great and rewarding match.
What was the most challenging part of staying with a host family?
- Joining the conversation was difficult at first, because I’m shy and not good at English
- Can’t think of anything.
- Language and cultural differences sometimes created different perceptions and conversational expectations.
- I didn’t know what polite and natural conversation is like in the U.S.
- None actually. I couldn’t have had a better experience.
- I was initially a bit anxious to meet them, but it turned out great.
- I can’t think of anything that stands out. I felt a bit homesick at first, but they made me feel very comfortable.
Did you feel safe and supported during your stay with an FFIS homestay family?
100% responded “Yes.”
There are usually 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.