Skip to main content

Join the Program!

The Host Friend Program matches you with a local community member to provide you with a smoother transition to UW – Eau Claire and American culture. This program is a wonderful opportunity for international students to connect with the Eau Claire community, practice English, make friends, and share your culture! To be matched with a Host Friend, you must submit an online student profile by the deadline.

As a Student, you can expect to:

  • Connect with an American individual, couple, or family in your first week on campus
  • Learn about the culture of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and America from a local community member 
  • Participate in adventures beyond the University community
  • Teach an American family about your culture


Application Priority Dates:
  • Fall semester: Application is due June 30
  • Spring semester: Application is due November 30


Upcoming Homestay Dates

Fall 2023

Saturday, September 2nd  - Sunday, September 3rd

*Homestay dates are after the first week of New International Student Orientation and before the first week of classes. Students should plan to arrive at the University on Monday, August 28th, in time for New International Student Orientation*


For more information about signing up for the Host Friend Program, please contact a member of the Host Friend Program team by emailing

  • Students Apply Here

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Who are Host Friends? Who are the hosts?

    Host Friends are your hosts and member of the Eau Claire community. They may be single, married, domestic partners, retired, or families with children.

    How will I be matched?

    Students are matched with Host Friends by comparing both the student and Host Friend profiles. The profile attributes, characteristics, common interests, hobbies, likes, and dislikes are considered during the matching process.

    Apply now

    When will I know who my Host Friend is?

    The Host Friend Program team will start matching after the application deadline. This process can take several weeks. Once the match has been made, and email will be sent to both the student and Host Friend with each other’s contact information so introductions can be made.


    How long will I stay with my host?

    The required homestay is 2-3 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 on a monthly basis.

    Do I live with my host on holiday breaks?

    No, Host Friends are not required to house students after the initial homestay. Residence halls are open on campus during the holiday and extended breaks that students are welcome to stay at. The Housing office must be contacted if a student needs arrangements.

    Will my hosts pick me up from the airport?

    *Fall 2021 Homestay dates (Saturday, August 28th - Sunday, August 29th) are after the first week of New International Student Orientation and before the first week of classes. For the Fall 2021 semester, Host Friends will not be expected or required to pick up students from the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport or the Eau Claire Shuttle. Students can move into residence halls on Monday, August 23rd and should make their own arrangements if arriving before that day.*


    Your Host Friend will pick you up once you arrive in Eau Claire. Most students arrive through Chippewa Valley Regional Airport or Chippewa Valley Airport Service (CVAS), a shuttle van at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. Host Friends are not required to pick up students at any location outside of the Eau Claire area. CVAS has easy to use shuttle van service that transports passengers to the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport. More information, including schedules, can be found on their websites.

    Chippewa Valley Airport

    Chippewa Valley Airport Service (shuttle van)

    Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport

    What activities will I do with my Host Friend?

    The possibilities are endless! Some activities include:

    • Going to the store to purchase miscellaneous dorm and school supplies
    • Downtown Eau Claire Farmers Market
    • Seeing a movie
    • Cooking an American meal together or going to an American style restaurant
    • Cooking a traditional meal from your home country for your Host Friend
    • Playing American board/card games
    • Going grocery shopping
    • Walking through upper and lower campus together


    Do I have to participate in the host program?

    The Host Friend Program is completely optional. It comes highly recommended as this program is a great way to acclimate to American culture and customs prior to the semester as well as practice English with native speakers!

    We want to hear from you

    Please enter your name

    Please enter a valid email address

    Please enter a valid phone number

    Please enter a message