“At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education, in an inspiring environment, with caring people.”
International Friendship and Host Family Programs at other colleges and universities have demonstrated the many benefits of matching American families and international students in order to establish rich, long-lasting cross-cultural friendships. Our program is intended to promote and facilitate friendship and cultural exchange as an extension of the HPU mission to provide every student with an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment, with caring people. At the forefront of this effort will be a focus on mutual respect, open-mindedness, and care, so we ask both community and international participants to keep this in mind as they embark upon what we believe will be fulfilling, life-long relationships.
The High Point University International Friends and Host Family Program is an exciting initiative to bring High Point community members together with international students from all over the world. It is meant to provide students with a foundation of cross-cultural fellowship that will enhance their learning experience in unique and fulfilling ways.
The program is also an opportunity for you and your family to be a part of a student’s High Point experience. By opening your home and heart to some of our amazing students, you will make lifelong friendships, learn about other cultures, and enhance the cultural education of a student who is far from home.
Below are some common questions that many have when considering the program:
The program is open to any international or domestic person or family living in the High Point or immediate Piedmont Triad community who is passionate about enhancing the cultural education of an international student. Participants include a diverse range of ages, cultural backgrounds, religious affiliations, and ethnicities.
Who are the International Students at HPU?
There are over 50 countries represented at High Point University! The top 3 most represented countries are: China, Saudi Arabia, and Canada, and we are enrolling a growing number of students from Brazil. There will be more than 100 international students enrolled at the beginning of the 2015/16 academic year, and that number is growing quickly as recruitment efforts across the world are being escalated. Additionally, we have more than 100 internationally-affiliated students, some of whom have dual citizenship or have lived abroad for many years. HPU is excited to embrace the cultural diversity that these students bring to our campus!
How Do I Sign Up?
Internationals and US American friends must go through the same application process, by completing an application and submitting it to the Office of International Student Services. Community members may make a special request for an international friend from a specific country; however, an important part of the program is open-mindedness and flexibility, so a willingness to engage with people from all over the world is desirable. Also, keep in mind that matching depends on who decides to sign up for the program; and the more specific a request is, the more difficult it will be to find a match. Matching is done throughout the year and is based on hobbies, special interests and activities that participants have in common. Please note that a match isn’t necessarily final – if for some reason a match doesn’t work out, participants can be re-assigned.
- Submit Application. Be sure to provide 3 character references.
- Submit a Letter of Recommendation from a community leader, an HPU employee, a minister, Rabbi, Imam, or employer. Have the person mail the letter to: Dr. Marjorie Church, Director of International Student Services. Drawer 68, 833 Montlieu Avenue, High Point, NC 27268 or email to email@example.com.
Once your application and letter of recommendation has been received and reviewed, your references will be contacted via phone or email and you will be contacted about a personal interview with the Director of International Student Services.
The next step in the approval process is a criminal background check, which is required by the University. Applicants will be asked to log in electronically and provide their personal information to a secure site.
Those whose applications are approved will be matched with students who indicate that they would like to participate in the program.
What are the Duties of an International Friend?
- Contact your international friend within the first week of being matched (After that first contact, it does not need to be initiated by the community member, but as a member of the host culture it is important to take the initiative as the friendship begins.)
- Initiate a first meeting on campus, and coordinate with the Director of International Student Services so that introductions can be made.
- Maintain contact with your international friend, and expect to get together at least 2 or 3 times per semester. More frequent meetings are encouraged if both parties are interested.
- Commit to keeping an open mind about your international friend’s culture, language ability and time.
- Provide transportation from campus to activities and/or to your home and back if student does not have a car.
- Provide occasional in-home meals. Students really appreciate a home-cooked meal after eating on campus for a few weeks! If you take the student to a restaurant, you are not expected to pay for the student’s meal — he or she will most likely have money to pay for this and other incidental expenses. However, it is fine for you to offer to buy a meal for the student if you like.
- If you and the student share religious interests, offer to take him or her to visit at your place of worship.
- Attend HPU events with your student. Volunteers can often get free tickets to games or events.
- If the student is an athlete, a performer, or participates in other HPU activities, support him or her by coming to watch! Remember, parents of these students normally cannot travel so far to see their children play ball or act in a play, and students love knowing that someone is out there rooting for them.
- Just “be there” for the student, who may sometimes need a sympathetic ear or someone to provide guidance or advice. Students who are so far from home need to know that there is someone “in their corner,” and International Friends can fill that need.
What are the Duties of a Host Family?
Imagine what it’s like to be the only student living in your dorm over Winter Break. No restaurants on campus are open, only a handful of students are still there, and there’s not a lot to do. If you don’t have a car, you’re stuck eating takeout or whatever can be prepared in a microwave, sometimes for several weeks! Some of our international students cannot travel home for every break, and some will not go home at all during their four years at HPU. Providing them with a short-term stay gives them the chance to learn about living in an American home, and the experience is invaluable for both the student and the host family.
Host families provide a place for students to stay over breaks such as Thanksgiving, Easter, Fall/Spring Breaks, and even the Winter or Summer break. The dates of those breaks for the 2015/16 year are:
Fall Break October 17-27, 2015
Thanksgiving November 25-November 29, 2015
Winter Break December 16, 2015 -January 9, 2016
Spring Break March 5 – 13, 2016
Easter Holiday March 25-28, 2016
Summer Break May 4 – August 20, 2016
**A family may choose to be both International Friends AND a Host Family; however, one may elect to do one or the other without committing to both.
Our International Students are searching for opportunities to make new friendships throughout the High Point area, to learn more about our culture here in the Triad, and to share their culture with their new friends. We hope that you will consider sharing your home, your family, and yourself with a student during the 2015/16 academic year!
For more information, contact Dr. Marjorie Church: (336) 841-4692 firstname.lastname@example.org.