Hampshire's International Friends and Family Program

(Formerly the Hampshire International Student Host Family Program)

International students are matched with a Hampshire staff or faculty member who can provide an additional source of support away from home. Each relationship is unique, based upon time availability and the student's needs. International students do not live with their match but will have the opportunity to connect regularly with their host.

The Program

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 their Hampshire match build a friendship that extends beyond the college years. Questions about the program? Send international student services an email at iss@hampshire.edu!

Staff and Faculty 

Applications from staff and faculty are accepted on a rolling basis.

Faculty/Staff Apply

International Students

An international student can join the program at any time during their stay at Hampshire.

Students Apply

Expectations of Participants

Hampshire Friends and Families

The most important task for a host is to facilitate trust and connection to help the student with his/her transition to college, U.S. culture, and to help them through homesickness and/or 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, invite the student to share about their present needs (e.g. starting a bank account, access to school supplies, information about on and off campus resources, etc.), current classes, social life at Hampshire, homesickness, and activities or places they would like to explore with you.

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 Resource Center in Enfield Mod 68 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, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, etc.).
  • Refer students to appropriate resources or if unsure, back to International Student Services.  Hosts are not medical/mental health providers, tax advisors, or immigration attorneys and can only share opinions on personal matters when solicited.
  • Students are not to live with hosts during breaks.


The Hampshire International Friends and Family program is an excellent way for students to learn more about the U.S. and to help relieve moments of homesickness. 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.
  • Approach on-campus and/or online resources before approaching their host regarding 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 or understanding.  Some examples include sourcing special foods or ingredients, where to go shopping for a particular item, and etiquette in American restaurants.  Hosts are not medical/mental health providers, tax advisors, or immigration attorneys.
  • Brainstorm outing ideas with their Hampshire Friend/Family.
  • Stay 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 to communicate with each other (phone, email, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, 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.
  • 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 to seek fun activities and outings. Here are some ideas for a group outing with other pairings or for just the student and family.

  • Go to local festivals or shows (e.g., block parties, one of the many local fruit/vegetable festivals, film screenings, plays or musicals, 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 the Dining Commons


"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 08F
"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