International Student Host Families

Host Family post

Guidelines and Expectations


Simpson College invites and receives students from around the world who come here to either finish their BA degree or come to earn a second degree. In the past students have come from Argentina,  Zimbabwe, Ireland, Bulgaria, Mexico, Germany, England, Poland, Canada, Australia, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and many other countries. For many of these students it is the first time they have been in the United States. We all can relate to what it must feel like to be so far from home. Those of us who work with the International Program on campus are aware of the needs our International Students have as a result of being in a totally new environment among people they have just met. Add to that the fact that English is the second language for most of the International Students and one gets the idea how difficult it must be. One will find, however, that the International Students who come to study at Simpson do have a firm grasp of the English language, and are excellent students.

Multicultural and International Affairs and Simpson College would like to invite you to be a “Host Family”. This program is to involve families in providing for the International Student someone with whom the student can immediately relate and identify and provide someplace where they can go to share some “weekend” time or time over the holidays. We hope the host families can build the kind of rapport with their International student that will allow him or her to always feel as if they have someone with whom they can “let down their hair” and relax. This will also provide for the host families an opportunity to develop what could be a lasting friendship with an excellent student from another culture.

We are not asking for families to provide housing. We are not looking for families to provide any counseling. We are not looking for families to be responsible for any of the financial obligations of the student. We are looking for families that can be a link between the International Student and our culture.



The host family will be expected to write to their International Student assignee before the International Student arrives on our shores.

The host family, along with someone from the College, will be expected to meet the International Student at the airport upon his/her arrival.

The host family will not be expected to house the International Student for the first night they are in the States. We would prefer that you move the student directly into student housing. If the student housing is not yet available, then and only then would it be appropriate for the host family to house the student only until the student housing is available.

The host family will be expected to take the International Student to their on-campus housing on the first day it is appropriate for the student to move in.

The host family will be expected to make their home phone number available to their student assignee. The host family will be expected to invite their International Student assignee to their home at least one additional time during the first month after the arrival of their International Student assignee.

We would expect that the host family and the student would reach a mutual agreement as to where the student would spend the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Spring Break, and Easter). [Most International Students will travel during some of these holidays, therefore, even if invited they may not be going to their host homes for the holidays.]

The host family will make themselves aware of the campus calendar of events at Simpson College, including when the residence halls are open and when they are closed, when students are allowed to move in to their residence hail room, what phone numbers to call for various needs of the student. (The host family will be given the materials needed to have this information handy.)

The host family will also need to have all the medical information necessary concerning their assignee as well as knowing what medical facilities and Doctors are available in the area.

The host family will maintain a frequency of contact with their International Student assignee beyond the above mentioned expectations as arranged between them and their International Student assignee. The host family will accompany the student back to the airport upon the student’s return to their native country.


Host families will be given by the International Program Committee informational background on the country and culture from which their International Student assignee is coming. It is imperative that the host families come to understand the country and culture of their assignee as much as possible.

It may take some time for the International Student to adjust to the Simpson culture and to the American culture. Some students (especially from Japan) will often remain quiet and not ask for assistance. Therefore, it is permissible for the host family to contact their student assignee just to see how they are doing.

Host families are encouraged, as much as they are comfortable, to involve the student assignee in the host family’s life. Basically, use the rule of thumb “Do unto others as you would want them to do to you.”

Host families will be assigned a member of the International Program Committee who will periodically contact the host family to see how things are going.



If the host family has to end the host family relationship with their student assignee, the family must meet with a member of the International Program Committee before aiding the relationship. The purpose of the meeting would be to facilitate a better understanding of the needs of the student and the host family.



Most International Students come to Simpson to finish their degree and therefore will often study here for about two years. However, many International Students will spend more than two years on campus, up to four years. We would anticipate the host families maintaining some kind of contact with their assigned student during that student’s entire time here on campus.



We ask that you fill out the application below and submit it to Walter Lain, Assistant Dean for Multicultural and International Affairs. Your application will be read by a committee, after which you may be contacted for an interview.