1. How do I become a Host Friend?
It's simple! To start the process, an online profile (application) must be completed. The profile asks for general information in addition to preferences, attributes, characteristics, common interests, hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc. of which are all reviewed and considered in the matching process. Also, part of the acceptance process is a phone interview, background check, and two reference checks. After the online profile has been submitted, the Community Outreach Coordinator will contact you via email for the next steps.
You can apply to the Host Friend Program here:
2. Do I have to be married or have children to host an international student?
No! Host Friends may be single, married, domestic partners, retired, or families with children. Host friends live in the Chippewa Valley community and are volunteers. The only exception is that host friends cannot be current, traditional UW - Eau Claire students.
3. Do students stay with their Host Friend(s) the entire time they are in Eau Claire?
No. The required homestay is typically 2-4 days and is the weekend before international student orientation week. To review semester homestay dates, please refer to the website. After the homestay weekend, it is the responsibility of the student and host to stay in contact with one another for the first semester the student is here.
4. What if we have a vacation planned while our international student is here?
Once the students have settled into their life in Eau Claire, they generally become very independent. We encourage hosts and students to maintain contact at least once per month during the student's first semester at UW-Eau Claire, but you should continue to go about your life as you normally would, including vacations.
5. Can we host more than one student at a time?
Yes! Some Host Friends host two or more students at once. Many who have continuing students will host additional new students in subsequent semesters.
6. Can I note a particular geographic regional preference for a student?
Yes, that is encouraged! However, the Center for International Education encourages interaction between hosts and students of all cultures. The Host Friend Coordinator does their best to match based on similar interests and hobbies, as well as regional preferences. Our student population is diverse and changes each semester, and hosts and students will be matched based on the student need for that semester.
7. Do I have to provide a separate room for my student during the homestay?No. We do require the student has a place to sleep and still be able to maintain some privacy. If they will be sharing a room with a household member or another student, we require a single gender room.
8. Do I have to pick my student up at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport?
No. Students are required to make their own travel arrangements to Eau Claire. You are asked to meet them when they arrive in Eau Claire, either at the Chippewa Valley Airport or at the Chippewa Valley Airport Service shuttle van terminal.
Chippewa Valley Airport:
Chippewa Valley Airport Service (shuttle van):
9. Should I help my student move into the residence halls?
No, you are only expected to bring your student(s) to their specific UW – Eau Claire campus residence hall on move-in day. There will be Hall Directors, Peer Guides, and Resident Assistants at the dormitories to assist students with moving in.
10. How long does each student attend UW-Eau Claire and which countries are represented?
UW-Eau Claire welcomes many different international students. Some students are degree-seeking, meaning they are attending UWEC as a new freshman and will spend 4 years here to obtain a UWEC degree. Some students are transfer students, meaning they will attend UWEC for 2 years to obtain their UWEC degree. Some students are exchange students, and have a home institution in their home country, and will be here for only 1 or 2 semesters. Remember, the expectations of the Host Friend Program are only for the first semester that the student is at UW - Eau Claire.
11. What kind of activities can I do with my student?
The possibilities are endless! The Downtown Eau Claire Farmers Market is a popular activity during the August homestay, see a movie at the new downtown Micon Cinema Budget Theater, visit Oakwood Mall, go to the Chippewa Valley Museum, do the sculpture tour, make an American meal one night, and then have your student cook a traditional meal from their home country another night, play American board/card games, go grocery shopping, tour upper campus, visit Big Falls/Little Falls...I could go on and on! Remember that what may seem like a simple activity to you could be a very memorable and impactful experience to a student (for example, grocery stores are so unique to each country, students love seeing how we live our typical daily lives!). Also, keep in mind many students may be anxious to purchase toiletries or other miscellaneous school items they may not have had room for in their suitcase, so taking time for them to go purchase these items at Shopko or an area store may be a good idea!
12. Am I expected to provide housing for my student over academic breaks?
No. You are not required or obligated to house students nor their visiting family members after the initial homestay weekend. Select residence halls are open on campus during the holiday and extended breaks that students are welcome to stay at. Host Friends also receive information on this in the monthly Host Friend Newsletter. Students should contact the Housing office or their Hall Director for additional information on this.
Housing & Residence Life: