Frequently Asked Questions
What are the requirements to be a FIUTS host?
FIUTS is proud to have a diverse community of volunteer hosts. Our hosts include single professionals and current students; retired individuals and multigenerational households; and families of all shapes and sizes.
Some of our homestay hosting opportunities require that hosts provide a spare bedroom for guests; for other programs, however, an air mattress, futon, or pull-out couch in the living room is all you need! Hosts are generally welcome to offer homestays to more than one student at a time, and many hosts prefer to accommodate students in pairs. While most of our hosts are based in Seattle, we also have many hosts to the north, south, and east – even in Tacoma. Specific requirements for hosting vary somewhat based on the program, so please refer to the program descriptions for additional information.
Most importantly, we ask that our hosts have an open mind, a sense of curiosity and openness towards new cultures, and enthusiasm for sharing your own culture with a visitor.
What are the goals of the FIUTS hosting programs?
Our hosting programs are primarily cultural exchanges - FIUTS wants you to actively represent your culture while learning about others!
How much time do homestay hosts spend with their students?
You do not need to be available at all times during their stay with you; FIUTS recognizes that hosts have busy schedules, and many work full-time. Hosts are encouraged to spend time with students during evenings and weekends. Generally, students are also participating in international orientation or other programming during the homestay period, so they will not be at home all day every day. When you sign up to host, we will provide you with a schedule that describes what students will be doing while they are staying with you, as well as recommendations for activities to do with your host students.
What are students' requirements during the homestay period?
FIUTS works to prepare students for the homestay experience so that participants will be ready to engage in a cultural exchange. For students in Youth Leadership and Summer English Camp programs, we provide an in-person homestay orientation. For UW international students whose homestay begins as soon as they arrive in the U.S., we send a series of pre-arrival emails that offer important information about local culture and tips for a successful homestay experience. Students are expected to abide by the FIUTS code of ethics.
How long will students stay with me?
The time frame for homestays varies depending on the program, but are all short-term:
UW Welcome Week: 7-10 days
Seattle Summer English Camp: One weekend, Friday afternoon through Sunday evening
Study of the U.S. Institute: Three days, Thursday evening through Sunday evening
Where do UW international students live once their homestay is over?
Many students live in the residence halls, in which case hosts will be provided with move-in information. Other students live off-campus, in which case they may still need to secure housing once they arrive in Seattle as finding off-campus housing from outside the country is very difficult. Many students connect with others looking for housing when they start orientation and find a house with other students. Other students may need to conduct an apartment search, which hosts can help them with. FIUTS has some resources available to students about searching for housing here.
What are the students like?
FIUTS international students come from a wide range of countries and study in a variety of fields. They include new undergraduates, visiting exchange students, graduate or even post-doctoral scholars at the University of Washington. The majority of our students come from Pacific Rim countries (China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, etc.), but there are also many students from Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and other regions.
In addition to UW students, we also offer opportunities to host middle school and high school students participating in Youth Leadership and Summer English Camp programs.
How do you match hosts and students?
When you apply to be a FIUTS host, you may indicate if there are regions of the world, languages, or fields of study that are of particular interest to you. FIUTS endeavors to match hosts and students based on common interests and shared experiences so that a true friendship develops during the hosting experience. When we identify a student who seems like a good match, we will contact you directly. Hosts are welcome to decline a match at any time if it doesn't work them - there is never an obligation to host when you sign up to participate in FIUTS programs. FIUTS also takes into account personal details such as allergies, dietary restrictions, and etc. FIUTS works to ensure that the homestay experience is an enjoyable one for all involved.
Should I pick my student up at the airport?
For our short-term visiting programs such as the Youth Leadership Programs, the Seattle Summer English Program, and the Study of the U.S. Institute, FIUTS will pick up students at the airport and hosts will meet them on campus after their arrival.
For Welcome Week homestays for UW international students, it’s best if you can pick your student up at the airport. However, if you are not able to do so, you are welcome to give your student directions for how to take a taxi, shuttle, or public transportation to your home. We send information about airport transportation to all incoming international students, and the email we send them is archived here.
When will I know about a potential homestay student?
We aim to place Welcome Week students with their host families at least two weeks prior to their arrival in Seattle. Most placements are made 3-6 weeks before the student's arrival. For short-term visiting programs, we aim to confirm all hosts at least two weeks before the homestay and provide hosts with information about their individual students approximately one week before the homestay.
Additional Questions? Contact Manager of Community Programs Samantha Novak at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 616-7025.