Frequently Asked Questions: FIUTS Homestay Program
If you do not see the answer to your question listed below, please contact the FIUTS Manager of Community Programs, Samantha Novak.
Who is eligible to participate in the Welcome Week Homestay Program?
The Welcome Week Homestay Program is open to all new University of Washington international students and scholars and takes place during their first 7-10 days in Seattle.
How do I apply for a homestay or a friendship connection?
Homestay applications are accepted online through the FIUTS webpage. Most students who apply to the program are placed with hosts, but because of the high demand for this program, FIUTS cannot guarantee that you will be placed.
How much does it cost?
For the Homestay Program, the processing fees are as follows:
Individual students: $125
Married Couples: $150
These fees will be applied regardless of how many days you choose to stay with your homestay host. These fees ARE NOT paid to your host, as all FIUTS hosts are volunteers who recieve no payment. Program fees are charged to your MyUW student account, and will be due with your tuition. The fee supports the administration of the program by FIUTS staff.
I need to cancel my participation in the homestay program. Can I get a refund?
If you submit an application and then decide that you do not want to participate in the homestay program, you MUST let FIUTS know immediately and will be charged a $25 cancellation fee. If you cancel your application less than two weeks before your arrival OR after you have already been matched with a host, you will be charged the full $125 homestay placement fee. (No fees will be charged if you cancel because of reasons related to your visa.) We will let you know the status of your homestay application at least two weeks before your arrival in Seattle; if we are not able to place you with a host, you will not be charged any fees.
How many days before classes should I arrive?
If you are starting at the UW in Fall Quarter, International Student Orientation begins approximately 2 weeks before classes begin. Winter, Spring, and Summer Quarter Orientations are usually around the first day of classes. Whenever you arrive, it is important to schedule free time for both orientation and settling-in.
What if I don't know my exact arrival time yet?
You should still fill out your homestay application and tell us approximately when you plan to arrive. When you confirm your flight to Seattle, let us know the exact arrival time. Please note, we cannot place you with a host family until we have your arrival information.
How does the process of matching students and hosts work?
When we receive your application, we review it and identify potential hosts for you. We send a short summary with information about you (your name, age, where you're from, what you're studying, your hobbies/interests, dates of your homestay, etc.) to hosts who we think will be a good match for you. Once a host confirms that they are able to host you, we put you in touch with them directly. Please note that hosts do not review applications and "choose" students; your application will be reviewed by FIUTS staff who will then seek an appropriate host for you. As soon as you receive the match email, please reach out to your host right away.
It is very important to us that all hosts and students have a positive homestay experience. For this reason, we do not match students in the order in which their applications are received (though it is still a good idea to send your application early so we have more time to search for your host!). Rather, we make matches based on which hosts and students we think will get along well. The more you tell us about yourself in your application, the easier it will be to match you with a host that is right for you!
How will I learn about my host family?
Host information will be sent by e-mail as soon as you have been placed with a host family. You will probably receive this information about two weeks before your departure, and this will include a short profile and contact information for your hosts. Please contact your hosts right away, before you come to Seattle, to make special arrangements and learn more about them. If we are unable to place you with a host family, we will notify you within two weeks of your departure.
Can I request to stay with a friend?
Unfortunately not; at this time we are unable to place friends together in the same homestay.
Can my family members stay in the homestay with me?
Your spouse, partner, or children is welcome to stay in the homestay with you; please be sure to include their information on your application.
We are NOT able to include students' parents or other relatives in the homestay. If your mother, father, or other relative is accompanying you to Seattle, please plan to begin your homestay after they leave.
What is expected of me in a homestay?
It is important to understand that homestays are meant to be cultural exchanges. You are expected to interact with your host family and spend time with them. Your homestay should NOT be treated as just a place to stay while you are getting set up in Seattle. If you are not interested in cultural exchange and are just looking for a place to stay, FIUTS can suggest a list of hotels near the University.
What are FIUTS hosts like?
FIUTS hosts are unpaid volunteers from the Seattle area who offer their hospitality as a gesture of friendship and goodwill. They may be young or old, married or single, gay or straight, with younger children or retired. They are from a variety of ethnic, religious, economic and educational backgrounds, reflecting the diverse culture of the United States. For your best possible match, please be sure to tell us as much about yourself as possible in your application.
Will my host be able to pick me up at the airport?
Maybe. Many hosts work during the day, so they may or may not be able to pick you up. Do not worry though! FIUTS will give you details about airport transportation, and you will have an opportunity to talk about airport arrival with your host before you come to Seattle.
What if I am not placed in a homestay?
If FIUTS is unable to place you in a homestay, you will need to find alternative housing. Please visit our housing page for more information on hostels and hotels that FIUTS recommends. If you have a confirmed placement in a university residence hall, you are eligible for Early Arrival Housing. Everyone who applies for Early Arrival housing will get an assignment. Please visit the Early Arrival Housing website for more information.
Where can I find permanent housing after my homestay?
On-Campus Housing: You should apply for UW housing as early as possible! Residence halls (dormitories) usually open between 1 and 3 days before classes begin. In the Autumn Quarter, temporary Early Arrival housing is available for students who have already been accepted into UW and starts one week before the residence halls officially open. Space is limited, and must be reserved through the Housing and Food Services Office. For information, email email@example.com.
Off-Campus Housing: Seattle can be a difficult place to find housing, so start looking early! If you plan to rent private accommodations such as an apartment or room in a house, start looking online before you get to Seattle, and give yourself at least a week to find a suitable place.