(Formerly the Hampshire International Student Host Family Program)
Incoming international students are matched with a Hampshire staff or faculty member who can provide an additional source of support away from home. International students do not live with their match.
"Coming from a different country to this really new culture and leaving everything I had behind, I thought I would be lost. But meeting this wonderful group of people made me feel welcome. They provided me everything I needed to get started. And since the time I first met them up until now, they've made me feel like I'm a part of their family. This is the great first impression I had of America. I am very thankful for them for all the help, support, and love they have given me." -- Achyut Shrestha F08
The International Friends and Family Program is an opportunity for cultural exchange, and an additional source of support and information about Hampshire, the Five College system, and U.S. culture. Often a student and his/her Hampshire match build a friendship that extends beyond the college years. Currently there are over 60 participants in the program: over 32 matches.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Incoming international students apply
An international student can join the program at any time during his/her stay at Hampshire.
"Getting to know the students is my favorite part of the Host Family Program. I think they are much braver than I was at 18 to leave home and travel to a different country on the other side of the world, to a place with a different language and culture and where they don't know anyone. I like being a welcoming presence for them. I have found that the two students I have hosted so far have not wanted a parental figure, but rather a friend who is 'in the know' about Hampshire, the Five-College area, and the U.S. in general." -- Marge Dunehew, Host
"The Host Family Program is such an amazing opportunity for both students and staff. I have so enjoyed getting to know both of my host students, and sharing our stories, cultures, and experiences has been eye-opening and exciting for all of us. For such a small commitment there is an enormous sense of reward and satisfaction in being able to help students from far away feel at home while they are at Hampshire. The only thing better than being a host to one student is the connection that I have made with many of the other host families and their students--I feel like I am part of a bigger family now, too!" -- Josiah Litant, Host
Expectations of Participants
Hampshire Friends and Families:
The Hampshire friends and families match provides an additional source of support away from home for international students. Each relationship is different, based upon time availability and the student's needs. The most important aspect of the relationship is to build a foundation of trust and connection to help the student with his/her transition to college, U.S. culture, and to help him/her through any times of homesickness and culture shock. The goal is that the family and student are able to meet often and find ways to learn more about each other.
When the Hampshire Friend/Family is together with their student, ask him/her:
- if he/she is still in need of finding items/resources (e.g., opening a bank account, items for dorm rooms, etc.)
- how his/her classes are going; if she/he has made new friends.
- how she/he is feeling being away from home.
- if he/she has any questions about how to find places and information on and off campus.
- if she/he is in need of anything that he/she is having trouble finding (such as special foods, dentist).
- what kinds of things you could do together this year.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- If the student is from a much warmer climate, please help him/her adjust to the cold New England winter, perhaps by going to the mall or consignment shops for warmer clothes. The Cultural Center also has a winter closet with coats, gloves, and scarves for international students.
- Sometimes the student may ask their match for a ride to the airport. If the match has the time to do so, then this would be helpful. If not, let the student know about the local bus and train schedules. The Hampshire Friend/Family should not feel obligated to do something they're not comfortable doing.
- It's important for the Hampshire Friend/Family to keep in regular contact with the hostee. This program is set up to be an ongoing support for students during their entire time at the College.
- If students don't hear from their Hampshire match, then they may think their Hampshire Friend/Family is not interested in spending time together. Discuss early on the best ways for both to communicate with each other (phone, email, Skype, Facebook, etc.).
The Hampshire Friend/Family provides an additional source of support away from home for international students. Each relationship is different, based upon time availability and the student's needs. Hampshire staff/faculty and their families have taken time out of their lives to extend themselves in order to help students transition to U.S. culture, college life, and being away from their families. This is an opportunity to get to know a U.S. family and to get additional help with the transition to Hampshire College and U.S. culture.
We hope students will:
- share with their Hampshire match how classes are going and how they're adjusting to college life.
- share things about their culture and family with their Hampshire match; seek to learn more about their match's background.
- seek answers to any of their questions about how to find places and information on and off campus.
- not be afraid to ask if they are in need of anything they are having trouble finding (such as special foods, a dentist, going to the store to get warm clothes for the cold winter!).
- brainstorm outing ideas with their Hampshire Friend/Family.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- It's important for students to keep in regular contact with their Hampshire Friend/Family. This program is set up to be an ongoing support for the students during their entire time at college. Discuss early on the best ways for student and Hampshire match to communicate with each other (phone, email, Skype, Facebook, etc.).
- If the Hampshire Friend/Family does not hear from their student, then they may think the student is not interested in hanging out with them.
- This program is an excellent way for students to learn more about the U.S. and American culture and to help relieve moments of homesickness.
- Students should be considerate of their Hampshire Friend/Family's resources and time. Their match should be seen as a resource, friend, and extended family.
- Make the most of this International Friends and Family relationship!
Students and families can take their own initiative, however, to plan a group outing. Ideas for a group outing or for just the student and family:
Go to local festivals (e.g., apple festival, film festival, etc.)
Go on an OPRA activity
Organize a trip to a beach or swimming hole
Have a potluck at someone's house
Take a day trip to Boston or other town
Go on the Amherst Gallery Walk
Go horseback riding
Go to a museum
Go on an outing with another host family
Share a meal on a cultural holiday
Volunteer at a local food shelter or other location
Go to the mall
Go sledding or skiing in the winter
Have lunch in SAGA
Questions about the program should be directed to multicultural and international student services, firstname.lastname@example.org.