The Host Friend Program is NOT a home-stay program.
Students are assigned to a Friendship Partner
for a period of one year, although the
relationship may well continue beyond that year.
We suggest that you consider "adopting" at
least 2 students at one time. Many students
come to the welcome reception with a roommate
or friend. Having someone familiar with them as
they visit with you is comforting, for both the
student and the host friend.
If for any reason whatsoever the student and
host are not compatible, it is reasonable and
possible to request a change. Do not remain
unhappy about the situation or simply neglect
to contact the student. Instead, call the
coordinators, Jon or Alana Varner
(864-723-0821) and discuss your problem.
It is helpful to be as familiar as possible
with the cultural background of the student,
the geography of his/her country and a few
facts about it.
Some students have dietary restrictions based
on religious or cultural preferences. Refer
to your copy of the student's application.
See "What to Serve--Meal Tips" in the link
Meeting With Students
You are asked to contact your student at least
once a month. It may be just a friendly call,
encouraging email, or an invitation. Keep in
contact to show your interest and let your
student know you are available.
If you are away for holidays or on vacation,
let your student know. A lack of contact can
When arranging a meeting, be sure the student
knows when and where it will be and what time
you will be returning them to their apartment.
Transportation should be provided for the
first few meetings, even if the student has
their own car.
Part Of The Family
We suggest that, if possible, you invite the
students for Thanksgiving dinner as well as
some activity during the Christmas season and
semester breaks. These may be lonely periods
for them and it will give them good insights
into our culture.
We encourage you to make your students a part
of the family's informal living rather than
treating them like a guest. Let them see you
in everyday living situations and let them
help you with tasks and activities as
Religion and religious institutions are
important to American culture. You are free
to invite students to attend worship services
with you, particularly during religious
holidays, but you should indicate clearly
the nature of the event as well as its
sponsorship and let the student decide if
they will participate. Many students
appreciate the opportunity to attend church
events as a part of their cultural
experience, but it is the policy of CAIF that
proselytizing is not acceptable.
Encourage Their Customs
Encourage your student to explain his/her
customs, country, food, etc. It may be that
the student will want to prepare some food
for you in your kitchen.
Some internationals are uncomfortable with
housepets. You should ask ahead of extending
your first invitation and keep pets locked up
if your guests are allergic or fearful.
Do not assume responsibility for financial,
immigration, academic, employment, health or
serious adjustment problems. Refer these
problems to Tina Rousselot at 656-2505 or contact
CAIF President, Kathy Mabry at 882-8141.
Get In Touch
When you receive the name of your student,
get in touch as soon as possible by phone or
email to arrange your first meeting. Early
contact is important since the first few
weeks are often the most difficult for a
student. Please identify yourself as part
of the CAIF International Friends Program.
The student will have received your name and
number. However, a written note (or email)
with your name, address, phone number, email
address, time and place of the first meeting,
length of the visit and appropriate dress can
prevent misunderstandings. Even if the student
has transportation, it is best to provide it
the first time.
Learn Their Name
Learn to pronounce the student's name
correctly and use the name he/she prefers.
Refrain from assigning an English name unless
your student suggests it.
Remember: School Comes First
The student's first priority is to study.
These young people are very serious students
and keep hectic class and research schedules.
You may find that you want to see him/her
more often than he/she can spare the time.
Do not be discouraged if this happens and do
not consider this a rejection of your time
and interest. Continue to extend invitations,
even if only for a brief coffee break.
Sometimes a well-timed email or phone call
of encouragement goes further than a lengthy