Student Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions

General Guidelines

  • How is time valued by Americans?
    As you may know, most Americans carefully observe the time that is set for people to meet. Please try to be on time and be sure to call if you have to change the time or have to cancel the appointment. Many Americans feel that arriving late for appointments or events indicates rudeness or lact of respect when keeping someone waiting.
  • How often will I meet with my host friend?
    You will receive information about upcoming activities for all members of the organization, including students and friendship partners. You are welcome to attend all activities even though your friendship partner may not be able to participate. On the average, a student will meet with their friendship partner about every 4-6 weeks.
  • Can I invite my host friend to an event?
    Occasionally, you may wish to invite your friendship partner to attend a university function, or you may want to prepare one of your national food dishes for him or her and friends of the family. Please feel free to extend an invitation.
  • What should I do if I feel uncomfortable with my host friend?
    If you should for any reason feel uncomfortable with the host friend assigned to you, please notify host friend coodinators, Jon or Alana Varner, right away.
  • Can I bring a friend with me to meet my host friend?
    If you would like to bring friends along with you when you get together with your friendship partner, you need to ask permission in advance.
  • I've been paired with a host friend, but I have not had any contact with them.
    If you have not heard from your host for more than two months, please notify us at
  • Can I join in holiday celebrations?
    You will probably be invited to participate in special holiday activities with your host. Feel free to ask about the particular celebration, why and how it is observed, and other questions you might have.
  • Student-Host Relationship

    • What are American friendships like?
      Americans are usually very "friendly" and will readily welcome and help newcomers. However, "friendship" takes a long time to develop.
    • How do I introduce myself?
      It is proper to shake hands with everyone to whom you are introduced, both men and women. Some Americans, especially if well-acquainted, will greet each other with a hug. If you do not wish to be hugged, extend your hand quickly for a handshake.
    • My host friend has a pet and it makes me uncomfortable.
      Many Americans have pets; especially dogs and cats that are often allowed into every room in their homes. If the presence of pets makes you uncomfortable, discuss the situation with your host.
    • How can I share my culture with my host friend?
      Americans often indicate their interest in others by asking questions. This indicates an eagerness to learn about you and your culture.
    • How should I dress?
      Everyday casual dress is appropriate for most visits to peoples' homes. Your host should indicate ahead of time if more formal attire is required for a particular event.
    • What if I have dietary restrictions?
      When you accept a meal invitation, tell your host if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies. He/she will appreciate this information.
    • Is it acceptable to smoke?
      If you are a smoker, ask your host's permission before smoking. Most non-smoking Americans do not allow smoking in their home.
    • Should I help with household tasks?
      You may offer to assist with household tasks (like meal preparation, clearing the table, etc) as a gesture of appreciation.