UW-Marinette’s Office of International Student Programs is in need of area residents who are willing to open their hearts and homes to serve as host and friendship families for international students from around the world. UW-Marinette will be welcoming four international students in need of a host family mid-August. The campus will also welcome approximately fifteen other international students who will live in Student Apartment Housing but want to make a connection with local families to enhance their experience in our country. “The main difference between host and friendship families is that students live with a host family for the duration of their stay whereas friendship families provide a temporary home to fill the gap between the student’s arrival and the move-in date for campus housing,” says Program Director Tina Oman. Oman continues, “However, both host and friendship families provide an invaluable service by helping students adjust to life in the United States, and in particular, learn how to navigate our community and culture. Familial and friendship bonds often result from these experiences as people share their culture and broaden their global perspective.”
Qualified hosts and friends can be a couple with or without children, a single parent with a child or children living at home, or a single person with ties to the community. Previous hosts and friends at UW-Marinette have ranged in age from their early 20’s to their mid-70’s. Host and friendship families come from diverse backgrounds and we encourage all nationalities, occupations, religious backgrounds and ages to consider getting involved. Families should be in a position to support the student’s participation in community events and activities such as going on nature hikes, celebrating American holidays or relaxing at the movies. There are many fun ways for families and students to build a meaningful relationship. Host families are expected to provide three meals a day and a separate bed for the student. A partial reimbursement of $200/month is offered to host families, which is paid once each semester. After their initial living arrangement with a student, Friendship families are asked to stay in touch and plan to do something with their student at least once a month.
The Office of International Student Programs ensures students and families understand the responsibilities and expectations by providing orientation events and preparation materials. Social gatherings, such as potlucks are also organized. “We are always available to our host and friendship families and they should never hesitate to contact us for anything they might need,” says Oman.
Those interested in learning more should contact Tina Oman at 715-735-4300, ext. 4355 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Evelyn Neziri, Program Coordinator, at 715-735-4300, ext. 4359, email: email@example.com.