The Host Friend Program matches you with a local community member to provide you with a smooth and fun transition to UW-Eau Claire and the community. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your Host Friend and spend three to four days in their home. Then, throughout the semester, hosts and students participate in family celebrations, holiday gatherings and community events!
This program is a wonderful opportunity for international students to connect with Eau Claire, practice English, make friends, and share culture! For more information about the program, read through our list of Frequently Asked Questions below.
To be matched with a host friend, you must first submit an online student profile before the deadline. Only new students with applications submitted on time are matched with hosts, so apply now! Students that have already arrived at UW-Eau Claire will not have the opportunity to apply or join the Host Friend program!
Application Priority Deadlines
- Fall semester: June 1
- Spring semester: November 10
For more information about signing up to have a host, please contact the Community Outreach Coordinator, or call 1-715-836-4411.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are Host Friends? Who are the hosts?
Host Friends may be single, married, domestic partners, retired, or families with children. Host friends live in the Eau Claire community and are volunteers. Hosts are not current traditional UW-Eau Claire students.
How will I be matched?
Students are matched with host friends by comparing the students’ profile with the host friends’ profile. The profile attributes, characteristics, common interests, hobbies, likes, and dislikes are all reviewed and considered in the matching process. This process helps to ensure the best match for the host and student. To apply, students need to submit an online application.
When will I know who my Host Friend is?
The matching process can take several days to several weeks to assign host and student matches. The Community Outreach Coordinator will start the matching process after the application deadline. Once the host and student has been matched, an email will be sent immediately to both student and host with each other’s contact information so introductions can be made and relationships started.
Student application deadlines: June 30 for the fall semester and November 30 for the spring semester.
*Applications submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.
How long will I stay with my host?
The required home stay is typically 2-4 days and is the weekend before international student orientation week. To review semester home stay dates, please refer to the Host Friend website. After the home stay weekend, it is the responsibility of the student and host to stay in contact with one another. We highly encourage students and hosts to maintain contact at least once a month.
Do I live with my host on holiday breaks?
No. Host Friends are not required or obligated to house students after the initial home stay weekend. Select 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 well in advance to make arrangements.
Will my hosts pick me up from the airport?
Yes. Your Host Friend(s) will pick you up once you arrive in Eau Claire. Most students arrive through the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport or Chippewa Valley Airport Service (CVAS) shuttle van via the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. Host Friend(s) are not required or obligated to pick up students at any location outside of the Eau Claire metro area. The CVAS has a convenient shuttle van that transports passengers to and from the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport several times throughout the day. More airport and CVAS information (including schedules) can be obtained on their websites. More information on arrival is also located in your arrival booklet.
What activities will I do with my host?
The possibilities are endless! You can expect to be invited to dinner, take local trips to places of interest, take a walk in the neighborhood, go shopping, attend holiday celebrations, attend UW-Eau Claire campus events, and much more! You and your host will choose activities that you can enjoy together.
Do I have to participate in the host program?
No. The Host Friend program is optional and completely voluntary for both students and hosts. It comes highly recommended, as the Host Friend program is a great way to learn about American culture, practice English with native speakers, create life-long friendships, have fun, and much more!