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Homestay and Friendship Programs

FIUTS believes that our world is a better place when people have the chance to share their experiences and build friendships that extend beyond politics and stereotypes. The FIUTS homestay and friendship programs offer short-term homestays for new students as well as other opportunities for international visitors and local community members to get to know one another and participate in cross-cultural exchanges. Use the links below to learn more about these programs.

 

Welcome Week Homestay

The FIUTS Welcome Week Homestay Program is a cross-cultural friendship experience between an international student and an American host. As part of this program, new international students and scholars who have just arrived in Seattle spend 7-10 days in the home of a volunteer host. Your host family will help you to settle in and learn more about Seattle during your first few days in the US. This program is primarily for students who have never studied or lived in the US, and who want to stay in someone's home for their first week in Seattle. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Thinking about applying for a homestay, and need to know more about how it works? Take a look at these questions and answers to learn about the program.

    Application

    Apply for a homestay! Applicants for future quarters must apply at least one month before arrival in Seattle. Homestays last 7-10 days only.

    Program Information

    Some important information about the program to help you before, during, and after your homestay experience.

    FIUTS Code of Ethics (pdf) and Ethics Case Studies

    See the NAFSA code of homestay ethics FIUTS uses here. These are the guidelines for our homestay program to help ensure students and hosts both have a positive experience. The Ethics Case Studies provide examples for potentially difficult situations and advice for how to deal with these situations.

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    Make a new friend in Seattle with Friendship Connections

    The Friendship Connection program matches a student with a local member of our community. This program does not include a homestay, but a Friendship Connection host will help you get to know Seattle and also invite you out for occasional hospitality throughout the year. This program is for students who already have housing plans, but want to get to know Seattle and its people during their stay in the US.

    Experience Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving is an important American holiday, and sharing Thanksgiving dinner with American hosts in their home is a unique cultural experience. FIUTS students are invited to sign up to be matched with a host for this occasion. Our hosts live all over the greater Seattle area and are excited to share their holiday with you!

    To sign up to spend Thanksgiving 2018 with a host family, please come to the FIUTS office in HUB 206 starting Monday, October 29th. The office is open from 10 AM to 4 PM, Monday through Friday. The deadline to sign up is Friday, Nov 16. Please read below for more important details on this program!

    Thanksgiving Dinner: Important Information for Students

    When is Thanksgiving?

    Thanksgiving is always the fourth Thursday in November. In 2018, Thanksgiving will be on Thursday, November 22.

    What is Thanksgiving?

    Thanksgiving is one of the most important American holidays. The historical event known as the “first Thanksgiving” was celebrated by Pilgrims (European settlers in what is now Massachusetts) and Native Americans during the Pilgrims’ first harvest in 1621. Traditionally, Thanksgiving celebrates people coming together to show gratitude for what they have, and is a time of year when friends and family get together to eat a meal and often recognizing what they are thankful for. Certain kinds of food are eaten at Thanksgiving, including turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.

    While many religious institutions hold Thanksgiving services, Thanksgiving is not necessarily a religious holiday, and it is celebrated by people all over the country regardless of religious belief. Many people consider it very important that everyone have a chance to share this meal together with others, which is why they want to welcome you to their homes.

    How does the FIUTS Thanksgiving Dinner program work?

    Students sign up to be hosted by local community members who are volunteering to host because they want to welcome you to their celebration. Hosts sign up through FIUTS and let us know how many students they can host. Then, FIUTS staff connects students with hosts via email, and hosts contact students directly to let you know where their dinner will take place and what time to be there.

    Where and when will the dinners take place?

    Hosts live all over the greater Seattle area. When you are matched with a host, you will receive their address, and they will contact you to let you know how to get to their house. Thanksgiving dinner is often a little earlier in the day than a typical dinner - sometimes around 3 PM or even earlier. However, the schedule depends on the host, so they will tell you what time to arrive.

    Who are the hosts?

    All kinds of people! Some are families with children, some are students or young professionals spending the holiday with friends, some are retired people whose families are visiting for the holidays. Our community of hosts is very diverse, but what they all have in common is that they are interested in meeting people from other countries and cultures, and want to show hospitality to international visitors by inviting them for Thanksgiving.

    How much does it cost?

    It is free to participate, though we do suggest that students bring a small gift for your hosts to thank them for their hospitality. A good gift would be something like a small dessert (for example, a box of chocolates) or some flowers, or a small item from your home country if you have one. A gift is not required but it is a nice gesture!

    Can my friend and I be hosted by the same host?

    Sometimes. Some hosts can accommodate more than one student, and some cannot. If you and your friend sign up together, we can try to place you with the same host, but you MUST let us know at the time that you sign up!

    Please be aware that hosts are usually inviting you to their Thanksgiving celebration with their own family or friends, so not all hosts have room for many more people at their tables. Even if you can't go with your friend, going by yourself and meeting new people can be a great experience!

    Are there classes on Thanksgiving?

    No. Thanksgiving is a national holiday and the university will be closed.

    If I sign up and then decide not to go, can I cancel?

    Unless there is some kind of emergency that prevents you from attending, once you sign up you are expected to attend Thanksgiving. Keep in mind that hosts must make plans in advance for how many people will be coming to dinner, and it is inconvenient for them when people cancel at the last minute. It is important to be respectful of hosts who are offering their hospitality, and cancelling at the last minute is not acceptable.

    More questions? Contact Samantha Novak at samantha@fiuts.org.