August 9, 2011--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls is accepting applications from area residents interested in participating in the Host Family Program. The Host Family Program supports new international students during their transition to campus by pairing them with an individual or family in the River Falls community.
Host families are not required to provide home stays; students provide their own housing. However, families often provide transportation to and from joint activities, since many students do not have their own vehicles. Host families are encouraged to include their student in activities that their family has already planned on doing such as a family dinner, movie night, sporting event, etc.
Sarah Egerstrom, director of new student and family programs, has served as a participant in the program. "My family hosted a Korean student last year and it was a great experience," Egerstrom says. "I especially enjoyed watching my kids develop a special relationship with Sophie."
Egerstrom went on to say "We've grown to love Sophie like a daughter and have cherished our time together. Through the host family experience, my kids developed a new interest and curiosity about other parts of the world. They ask a lot of questions about Korean culture and make many comparisons between our life in the U.S. and Sophie's home country. They even claim to be saving their money so they can travel to Korea. Obviously, hosting a student has forever changed our lives and we are so grateful for the experience."
Individuals and families interested in participating in the Host Family Program are encouraged to complete a host family application, available at http://www.uwrf.edu/NewStudentAndFamilyPrograms/HostFamilyProgram.cfm. This same site contains additional information on the program, including archived newsletters detailing the experiences of other host families.
Questions regarding the Host Family Program should be directed to International Student Services at 715-425-4444 or firstname.lastname@example.org.