From the Students:
Yasha, International Student, Sweden:
"It was my first time ever to visit the United States, and I stayed there for one semester studying at UWEC. It is hard coming from another country to know how to act, what to say and how things will be. I received great information about the school, orientation week and campus before I got there. One thing that I also found in my mail was information about a Host Friend Program. I didn't even hesitate to apply for it. It was probably the best thing I've done. Thanks to the Host Friend Program, I now have an extra family, "an American family" that I will stay in touch with, even though I am in my native country. The Host Friend Program helped me and many others to explore American culture, try American food and see how life actually is living with an America family. The best thing is that you stay in touch with your host family through the whole semester. I was so lucky and had the opportunity to travel around and see cities that I would have never seen if I didn't have my host family during that time. I would recommend to all international students that are going to spend time at UWEC, one semester or 4 years, to apply for the host family program. It is a great opportunity for you to explore the culture that you are going to live with and for the family to learn things about your culture."
Ravshan, International Student, Ukbekistan:
"It is wonderful to have a host thousands of miles away from home. Many universities in the U.S.A. do not provide international students with a host. The UW- Eau Claire Host Friend Program is one of the many reasons why I like UW - Eau Claire."
Lisa, International Student, Germany:
Q: When you arrived in Eau Claire, was there something you missed from home that could have been provided?
A: "I didn't miss anything. My Host Friends helped me with items which made my life more convenient like a bike, coffee maker, and hair dryer."
Hanna, International Student, Ethiopia:
"'Selam, greetings from Ethiopia to all the wonderful and nice people I've known during the past two years in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I am Hanna Astawesegn, an international student at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. I've just finished my sophomore year in Business Finance and I have two more years to go. Though I'm quite glad to make it half way through my college years, I'm not eager to graduate and leave Eau Claire behind.
I have developed a very close relationship with my American Host Family. They welcomed me to their home when I first stepped foot in Eau Claire - the same day I arrived in the U.S. for the first time. I could read curiosity and excitement from their faces to learn what my culture is all about.
I haven't been home for almost two years, but I'm grateful to my Host Family who made me feel like I'm home. We have spent so many times together like weekends, birthdays, and holidays. Some of my special moments include: birthday celebrations, cooking with them, staying late for movie night, and playing with the kids. I've also had new American experiences like Easter basket (even though I was too old for this, I had to try it!), shopping at Wal-Mart after midnight (we barely shopped during the day especially last year), Mother's and Father's Day celebration, and first time experience shopping on Black Friday.
During my second school year, they've been hosting another international student from China, Xiuting, who is a close sister to me. She will finish her studies in the U.S. this summer, but the memories and fun times we had together as a big family will last a life time. Being a Host Family/Student is a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet new family and friends from different sides of the world that will place unforgettable memories in one's heart. I have enjoyed my stay in Eau Claire and I'm glad to see many people are interested in the Host Family/Friends Program. This shows the willingness of the Eau Claire Community to learn and share different cultures in the world."
Julia, International Student, Austria:
"They made me feel like at home in a country where I have never been before."
Don, International Student, Sri Lanka:
"I never thought of those disastrous words used by many international students, 'HOME SICK', the love and kindness of my Host Family made me wonder, 'Do those words even exist?'
International Student, Denmark:
"They came into my life a little more than 3 months ago and even though I am traveling 6,500 miles back to Denmark, they will still be a part of my life. I cannot thank my Host Parents enough"
International Student, Kenya:
"My host mother has made a very positive contribution to my life. She has sacrificed her time,
patience, and kindness in return for nothing. To be honest, I don't know how I would have survived my first semester without her."
International Student, Columbia:
"When I first arrived, my Host Family not only took me in their home, but they provided me with all the warmth and care that I thought I could only find at home."
International Student, Brazil:
"My Host Friends have been caring, supportive and loving to me. They have treated me as one of their own family, which makes me feel very good."
Celia, International Student, France:
There are not many experiences that could be more intimidating than going to study abroad on your own. Really. There is a mix of extremely strong feelings: the thrill of the adventure and of the unknown; the pride of doing something out of your comfort zone; the excitement to learn a new language and discover a new culture; or the anticipation of making new friends and stepping into a new phase of life. However, as the packing goes on, a little suitcase filled with worries and anxiety often tags along…
Lucky enough, I did not have to think about this too much.I knew that once I would arrive in Minneapolis, MN (straight from Paris, France!), I would not have to figure it out all on my own, but that I would have a support system straight from the beginning. The Fellom family from Chippewa Falls came to pick me up and I was so glad I did not have to face my first Minnesotan/Wisconsinite blizzard alone! They are such genuine and kind-hearted people, and I could sense it from the first handshakes and hugs!
During my four years at UW-Eau Claire, my host family: moved me into my residence hall, invited me to coffee to catch up, and brought me to their home for the weekend. I remember playing softball (I am completely uncoordinated, but it was worth sharing that moment with
them!) and biking around all afternoon with them – honestly, great memories! I started to get extremely involved on campus, and distanced myself a bit, but I know, without a doubt, that if I needed anything any day, they would be right there for me. And funny story – their oldest son, who was a freshman in high school when I arrived in January 2009, just started as a freshman at UW-Eau Claire this Fall!
Now imagine. Not only would all of that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside (really, impacting someone's life is rewarding!), but you would get to know someone from a different part of the
world, hear about a new culture, a new language… I think that one of the exciting parts from a hosts perspectiveis that you would get to showcase your region, your tradition, your culture – from explaining what a cheesehead is, to taking your student to local events, to showing them how beautiful the Chippewa Valley and Wisconsin are…You will get to rediscover your own home through a different lens!
Thanks to all of you who already participate and who will participate in this program. There are no words to express the gratitude that we have for all you do… Thank you!