Student Guidelines


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.

Bringing Friends

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.


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.

Contact Info

Notify your friendship partner, as well as your foreign student advisor, if you change your address, email, or telephone. If you have not heard from your host for more than two months, please notify us at


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.


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.

Discomfort With 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.

Host Friends

Host friends are involved in CAIF because they are truly interested in getting to know international students and they want to be your friends. Please do not hesitate to ask them any questions you have about American culture, family life, or any social issues that you do not understand.

American Friendship

Americans are usually very "friendly" and will readily welcome and help newcomers. However, "friendship" takes a long time to develop.

Asking Questions

Americans often indicate their interest in others by asking questions. This indicates an eagerness to learn about you and your culture.

Be On Time

You are expected to be ready at the time agreed upon if someone is picking you up at your residence. Many Americans feel that arriving late for appointments or events indicates rudeness or lact of respect when keeping someone waiting.


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.

Hand Shakes & Hugs

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.

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.

Dinner Gifts

It is not necessary to take a gift when you are invited to dinner.


If you are a smoker, ask your host's permission before smoking. Most non-smoking Americans do not allow smoking in their home.


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.

Household Tasks

You may offer to assist with household tasks (like meal preparation, clearing the table, etc) as a gesture of appreciation.

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