Host Family Program

By April Cooper,2014-12-03 17:28
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Host Family Program

     “Friends of CC”

    A Handbook for Hosts/Host Families

    Colorado College Office of Minority & International Students

    2010-11 Academic Year

    ow more than ever, you and/or your family can make a difference by hosting a Colorado College student…. and contributing in a small, but significant way to understanding and

    N peace at the local, national and global level..

    Imagine ….sharing the beauty and history of your own culture with a student from a different background; maybe they’re from across town, from a different state or from

    across the world.

    Imagine ….getting to learn more about these students and how they see the world.

    Imagine ….exploring your differences, discovering surprising similarities, and sharing your own stories.

    Imagine …. seeing the Colorado Springs community through the lenses of new eyes: an international student in our country for the first time, a student who is the first in their family to go to college or a student from a large urban area or rural town. All of these students are making a transition into a new environment, both on and off campus.

    Imagine ….being part of our network of resources and support for Colorado College students and developing a lifelong friendship.


    Table of Contents

About “Friends of CC”

    ; What is a Host/Host Family?

    ; Who can host?

    ; Why be a Host/Host Family?

Getting Started

    ; How do you apply to host?

    ; What can you expect of the Office of Minority & International Students?

    ; Practical suggestions for the Host/Host Family

    ; Hospitality hints

    ; Sharing a meal

    ; What is expected of students in this program?

Program Events

Office of Minority & International Students Staff Roster



    About “Friends of CC”

    riends of CC is a non-residential program that provides students with the

    opportunity to see something of life outside of campus, to learn more about our

    community and to meet new friends and resources. The goal of the program is to

    provide opportunities for students in areas of educational and career networking, F

    leadership development and social networking. Some students may be at

    Colorado College either for one semester, one year or stay to complete a degree.

    The students do not live with the host/host families; they live in the residence halls on campus. However, the host/host family plays a supportive role by providing a place to enjoy an occasional meal, going on trips to the mall and nearby points of interest, sharing holidays or special events, or even offering a place for a student to escape the dorms every once in a while. Throughout the year, we will provide a series of activities and events for program participants both on and off campus; the amount of time you spend together additionally is entirely up to you and your student.

    Many times, new students at CC find the separation from their own families and the transition from their culture to college and local culture a difficult or frustrating experience, especially around the holidays and vacation seasons. The warm support of a local family has truly helped these students. Our Colorado College values speak to helping students develop a sense of “connection” and “place” and statistics show that when students feel connected, both on and off

    campus, their educational experience is greatly enhanced.

What is a Host/Host Family?

Friends of CC (host/host families) provide a caring “home away from home” experience for

    domestic, international and first-generation students enrolled at Colorado College, and who, though already have housing, would like to build a friendship with a local family. “Hosting” means befriending one or more students, building friendships through notes, letters, phone calls, visits and activities together. Contact at least once a block is ideal.


Who can Host?

    CC hosts/host families represent the diversity of our local community and are of varied cultural, socio-economic, religious, gender, racial and ethnic backgrounds. Some of our hosts include:

    ; Individuals

    ; Working parents

    ; Couples without children

    ; Singles and single parents

    ; Empty-nesters

    ; Anyone else who wants to befriend a student, share their culture and lifestyle and is

    interested in learning about other cultures and lifestyles

Why be a Host/Host Family?

    There are a number of reasons why being a host/ host family can be of tremendous service to our students. First, regardless of whether they are domestic or international, many students coming to Colorado College are away from their families and familiar communities for the first time. They are challenged by learning to negotiate new cultures, whether that’s American culture, college culture or the Colorado College culture. Hosts and host families can help. Second, students get homesick. They miss the presence of family and friends and miss the comforts and pleasures of something as simple as a home-cooked meal.

Third, research shows that the most critical period of a student’s adjustment to a new

    environment is the first three months after their arrival. Therefore, one goal of Friends of

    CC is to build growing, lifelong friendships that can even span the globe, based on shared experiences and mutual understanding. A host/host family’s engagement in the first three

    months to a year of a student’s arrival can make the difference between “culture shock” and

    finding a sense of place and belonging.

    Of course, our students are not the only ones who benefit. The inherent rewards of inter-cultural friendships to hosts/host families are endless as one gets to see the world through different eyes and educate and challenge themselves around issues of difference and inclusion.


    Getting Started

    n June of each year, the Office of Minority and International students will send current

    hosts/host families a letter and form of intention for the following school year. As soon as I we receive the response, we will match hosts to students.

    Our office will send you personal and contact information on your student. You should make contact with your student(s) as soon as possible after being matched within a week at the

    most. The students have already indicated the desire to get to know people in our Colorado Springs community. They will also be encouraged to take initiative with you but, as hosts, we ask you to be responsible to take the initiative both at the outset and throughout the relationship.

    Some students arrive on campus with their families or by other means of transportation, but some (particularly international students) may need your assistance in getting to campus from the Colorado Springs or Denver airports. If you and your student make these arrangements, please be sure to let us know your plans; we’ll be sure to supply you with the student’s flight

    information. And remember, if you don’t get to meet your student at the outset, we’ll provide a great social opportunity to meet and eat together during our New Student Orientation (you’ll receive more information on that later!)

    And, please let us know if your friendship is not developing as you would like or if questions or concerns arise. If you cannot reach your student right away, or if you are unable to follow through on your commitment, please let us know immediately. Please do not just quit.

How do you apply to host?

    Fill out the appropriate form and mail to the Office of Minority and International Students, or call our Office at (719) 389-6802 and speak to one of our staff.


    What can you expect of the Office of Minority & International


; Advocate for the program in the local community

    ; Screen hosts/host families

    ; Match students and hosts/host families with similar interests

    ; Administer and monitor school admissions for international students

    ; Meet/greet and orient new students and hosts/ host families

    ; Clarify expectations and uncover misunderstandings

    ; Provide ongoing support and advice

    Practical suggestions for the Host/Host Family

    1. Introduce the student gradually to the community. If possible, it may be a good idea to

    invite the student to observe or participate in civic or professional activities in which you

    or your family are involved.

    2. Familiarize the student with different social customs. Provide information into aspects of

    community living that interest the student most, such as government, business,

    education, the arts and recreation. You could also introduce them to people you may

    know working in their field of study.

    3. Holidays are a lonesome time for some students, particularly those international

    students who will remain on campus. Can you help the student plan for these periods?

    Inviting them into your home or taking them out to eat or for an activity will be greatly


    4. A basic guideline is to do the things you and your family normally do, and invite your

    student to join you!

5. Although one of the goals of Friends of CC is to provide engaging interaction across

    the spectrum of diversity, respect for ideological differences is crucial. Students should

    NEVER feel pressured to discuss topics they do not wish to discuss or participate in

    activities and should be able to freely decline.


    Hospitality hints

    If you invite a student into your home…thanks! And here’s some suggestions that may help to

    make the event more comfortable for all:

    1. Regardless of whether you are hosting a domestic or international student, learn

    something about their hometown or country before their visit. Seek to know them.

    2. Make sure that time, place, dress, transportation and duration of activity are clearly

    understood. Please provide transportation where needed and it’s helpful to give all

    details in writing if possible maybe by sending a quick e-mail confirmation.

    3. Please respect the student’s time and need to get home to study. You may even wish to

    invite them to see your home as a quiet place they can retreat to be alone or to study.

    4. Have a simple dinner but have plenty of food! Be sure to ask about and respect dietary


    5. Help the student(s) feel at home. Most students prefer you to be natural and informal

    and to treat them like part of the family. Try talking about mutual interests or hobbies.

    Sharing photographs is always a great way to break the ice.

    6. Show real interest in the student(s). Get them to talk about themselves. Ask about

    family, education, home life, culture, customs, aspirations, activities and plans. If they

    speak a different language, learn greetings in their language. Encourage them to ask

    questions about you as well.

7. People of differing experiences and worldviews may not always agree…and that’s part

    of what makes engaging around issues of diversity both challenging and rewarding! Our

    hope is that you and your student(s) can share meaningful discussions and nurture an

    environment where all are willing to share and respect multiple perspectives while

    avoiding, as much as possible, making value judgments of “right and wrong” or “better

    and worse” between your viewpoints and theirs. Recognize these as simply “different”.

    8. We trust that you and your student(s) will enjoy your time together and continue to make

    plans for future get-togethers! Again, our program will offer regular activities and we

    hope you and your student(s) will take the initiative to get together on your own.


Sharing a meal

    Sometimes invitations to students include a meal. This is an ideal way to get to know each other and so many cultures, whether domestic or international, value time spent together with good food and good company! Here’s a few helpful hints:

    1. Try to create a relaxed atmosphere. Be aware of the fact that many cultures view

    sharing a meal in different ways; some linger while others may quickly devour their food.

    In some families, it is not the custom to talk while eating, while some families view this

    as a time to be social. Again, a great way to get to know each other is to simply talk

    about what your family meal customs are.

    2. Remember, your guest may have some dietary restrictions because of religious or

    cultural background or simply out of preference. Try to ascertain these restrictions prior

    and plan your meal accordingly. It is always appropriate to ask.

    3. We understand that various cultures have a variety of different attitudes toward the

    consumption of alcohol. However, Colorado College would ask that you respect local,

    state and federal laws and not serve to or purchase alcohol for anyone who is under the

    age of 21. Your understanding about this delicate issue is appreciated.


    What is expected of students in this program?

; Be a responsible and engaged member of the program

    ; Share your culture, background and customs with host/host family

    ; Practice open communication and commitment to the program

    Colorado College students have three role needs that hosts/host families can help them meet:

    ; The student role Regardless of background, many students are sometimes under

    pressure from family or even governments to excel. In addition to that, adjusting to

    college culture, CC culture and Colorado Springs culture can be taxing. Students

    always welcome and benefit from caring encouragement.

    ; The ambassador role We are proud of our students here at Colorado College and are

    pleased that they have the opportunity to serve as ambassadors in our community!

    ; The tourist role Students who participate in this program have a real desire to see life

    off campus and get to know Colorado Springs. Share your expertise!

Program Events

    The Office of Minority and International Students has several events throughout the year to bring the host families and students together.

    ; During orientation week in late August, we will hold a Backyard Buffet to

    welcome our new minority, international and first-generation students and

    introduce the students to their host/host family if they haven’t already met.

    ; Just before winter break, we’ll have a holiday party to say “goodbye” to the

    international exchange students.

    ; At the end of the school year, we will hold an end-of-the-year celebration to bid a

    fond farewell to our seniors. We recognize the other student members and

    hosts/host families for their support and participation in Friends of CC!

    ; We’ll gather once a block for informal potlucks and conversation.

    ; There will be additional informational programs aimed at helping our students

    maximize their resources and experiences at Colorado College. Some of these

    will focus on educational and career networking and leadership development.


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