Host Profile of Cathy Farrar: An Enriching Experience
Taken with Prukalpa and Varun from India, founders of "Social Cops", winners of Microsoft Prize for Social Entrepreneur Business Plan Competition at Foster School of Business.
We love our homestay hosts and are proud to have a big and diverse hosting community! FIUTS hosts come from around the world, live all over the Puget Sound region, and range from first-time volunteers to hosts who have been welcoming students to their homes for decades.
Our "Host Profiles" recognize and feature the wonderful hosts in our community whose generosity means the world to our students. Here's Cathy Farrar, sharing her story of what hosting means to her!
Name: Cathy Farrar
Location: Seattle, Blue Ridge
How long have you hosted students through FIUTS? About 6 years.
What countries have you hosted students from? China, Bangladesh, India
What made you decide to become a host? I have always been interested in international connections.
What’s your favorite local place to bring your host students? Ballard Avenue - there are a lot of people walking around to various cafes in the evening and it reminds students of their home country. In most countries, people walk around in the evenings and try various eating places.
What’s your favorite activity to do with your host students? Backpacking in the mountains.
Has a host student ever cooked a dish from their home country to share with you? If so, what did they make? Yes, several times. We had a Chinese New Year party at my home this year with several students and "friendship connection", and Chinese friends and their spouses from the Seattle community. They cooked traditional dumplings and several other dishes.
What's your favorite part of U.S. culture to share with your host students? I like to explain what it's like for children growing up in the U.S. and discuss the similarities and differences with growing up in their country. This helps them understand their local classmates' orientation to study, their careers, their families, friendships and plans.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned from your hosting experience? I have learned that students who come to the U.S. to study are extremely hard working, adaptable, but also how much time and energy it takes for them to fulfill the academic requirements while dealing with English. Also hospitality toward visitors is a more fundamental trait in most cultures outside the U.S., where independence is considered a admirable trait.
Have you stayed in touch with any of your host students long-term? I have stayed in touch through visits, Facebook and messaging with each student I have hosted, and their friends. I have visited each of the families of students I have hosted in China because I have taught English in China and they invite me to visit. They have introduced me to extended families including grandparents in small villages. It has been a great pleasure and enriching experience for me to learn of the students academic, professional and personal accomplishments.