Tips and Expectation for CFIS Host Families

Thank you for your interest in the Community Friends of International Students (CFIS) Host Family Program.

Students participating in the CFIS Host Family Program may request hosting from anywhere from 3 to 5 nights, depending on individual student need, and the needs of their academic program. To ensure that students do not overstay their welcome, and to encourage students to settle into permanent housing, homestays are limited to a maximum of 5 nights. (Families who would like for their student to stay longer are asked to please contact International Place Interim Director, Chrystal Orozco (, to discuss this possibility.)

During your student homestay, International Place staff and volunteers are available to help new students with taking care of many of their basic needs, as part of the New International Student and Scholar Orientation (NISSO). Hosts who would also like to assist their student with these tasks, are very welcome to do so, although we do ask hosts to please observe the NISSO schedule. The amount of time your family spends with your student will depend on your family’s desire and availability. While some hosts may be available to spend more time with their student, other hosts are only able to to provide room, board and transportation, to and from campus.

General Expectations

  • We request that hosts be prepared to provide bed and breakfast.
    • To ensure comfort and privacy, accommodations must be in a private bedroom.
  • We request that hosts arrange transportation to and from International Place during NISSO (NISSO overlaps with hosting dates).
    • We also ask that hosts be prepared to pick their student up from International Place, upon their initial arrival.
  • For Pitzer exchange students moving into the residence halls, we request that hosts assist their student on move-in day (see NISSO schedule for dates). If assistance is required, please contact International Place (
  • We request that hosts do not:
    • Loan their student money or make purchases on their student’s behalf.
      • If a student has need for urgent financial assistance, they are asked to please contact the International Place Interim Director, Chrystal Orozco (
    • Allow their student to make direct long-distance phone calls from the host’s mobile phone or landline.
      • There are many options available to students who need to make long-distance phone calls, including: prepaid online phone cards (which can be used with a landline), or internet-based applications allowing phone calls to mobile phones or landlines abroad (these can be used with a local mobile phone, a tablet, or a computer with internet access).

First Contact

We encourage hosts to send their student a welcome e-mail, after the student has been informed of the homestay pairing. The host will be included on the e-mailing informing the student of the pairing. Students are very eager to make contact with their hosts. This first contact allows the family and the student to learn more about each other prior to the student’s arrival in Claremont.

New Student Arrival

Most new students participating in the CFIS Host Family Program also take advantage of the International Place airport pickup service. Students participating in the airport pickup service will come directly to International Place, where hosts can pick them up. While we send anticipated arrival information to hosts ahead of time, hosts should be prepared for flight delays, traffic delays and the time it may take to pickup other new students, who may be arriving on the same day. International Place Staff or returning-student volunteers will call hosts with arrival updates. For any questions or concerns about new student arrival, please contact International Place at

Tips and Considerations for the First Day

  • Long journeys and the time difference
    • Many students will have been traveling for upwards of 12 hours, and very often much more.  Combining a long journey with the nerves and excitement of being in a new place can leave some students in need of more time to recuperate.
    • Some students may find it very easy to adjust to the time difference upon arrival, while others may be completely exhausted.
    • It may be helpful to inquire into how your student is adjusting; and to plan any activities accordingly.
  • Be prepared for hunger at various times of the day or night
    • Due to long journeys, as well as dramatic time changes, some students may get hungry outside of regular meal times. Preparing easy-to-eat foods, such as fruit, bread, or pastries, could satisfy late-night or early-morning hunger. Students may not feel at liberty to access your kitchen, despite having been invited to do so. We invite hosts to set out any refreshments, to make them more accessible to your student.
  • Help your student get familiar with your house
    • Explaining how various features of your home work (such as faucets, showers, gas stoves, etc.) may help your student feel more comfortable, as well as independent, in your home. The operation of home appliances can vary significantly, around the world. Home appliances which are considered commonplace in the United States, may be rare in other countries.
    • A simple explanation of “new home basics”, such as where to find light switches, can be very helpful.
  • Share your household rules
    • Cultural differences as well as differences in styles of communication may prevent messages from being conveyed from the host to the student, as well as from students to their hosts.
    • Discussing house rules (e.g. “no smoking”, etc.) will help prevent any misunderstandings.
    • Some students may not feel at liberty to ask “too much” of the host, or they may not ask for anything that is not explicitly offered to them. Please take time to provide general guidance on use of the home, so that students may enjoy your family’s hospitality.
  • Dietary Restrictions and Preferences
    • Although the host will be informed of any previously disclosed dietary restrictions, it is helpful to check-in with your student about any strong likes or dislikes, as you prepare meals.