What Does It Mean to Be a Host
The host program is designed to assist newly arrived international students in their transition to life in the United States and particularly to Loyola University Maryland. A host shares his/her culture with an international student by becoming a friend and resource to the student as they experience the American culture.
Who Can Be a Host
Loyola faculty, students, alumni, staff, administrators and their families are welcome to be hosts. The best hosts are those who enjoy meeting new people and who can spend time with their student at least once a month.
Why Should I Be a Host
An international student’s first priority is his/her academic studies. However, many also want to expand their experience and exposure to American politics, economics, environment, and culture. Being a host assists students in adjusting to their new environment.
Relationship Between Hosts and International Students
The relationships that develop between hosts and foreign students tend to foster a new appreciation for how others live and view the world, and can contribute to achieving one of the principal values of the cross-cultural experience: cultural self-awareness. Cultural self-awareness allows us to see that our way of doing this is but one of many different, equally “natural” ways. The ability to accept those differences helps in building relationships with people from other cultures.
How the Relationship Develops
During a brief dinner at the beginning of the semester, you will be introduced to the student with whom you have been matched.
From this brief meeting you can:
- Exchange names, addresses and telephone numbers
- Recognize the student’s English proficiency and ease in social situations
- Learn the pronunciation of his/her name and what to call one another. (Keep in mind that the student may feel uncomfortable calling you by your first name)
- Use this time to extend your first invitation. (In some societies it is considered impolite to accept the first invitation. If your invitation is refused, tell the student you will call to set up another date. Since understanding each other over the phone can be more difficult than speaking person-to-person it might be helpful to send a reminder)
What the Student May Need or Enjoy
International students may need assistance getting themselves settled during their first weeks here.
For example they might need to:
- Become acquainted with the transportation systems
- Become familiar with elementary precautions for safety
You can assist by:
- Take students shopping;
- Invite students to a family dinner;
- Meet students from time to time for coffee;
- Take students sightseeing around Baltimore;
- Have lunch with students on campus;
- Take students to or from airport;
- Lend students things they forgot to bring from home;
- Invite students to socialize at a local hangout;
- Invite students to come to a party you are having;
- Invite students to a holiday dinner; and
- Get together to play tennis or another sporting activity
Although some students will be living on limited means, do not feel you need to spend money on them or give them money. Creating an interpersonal relationship is the emphasis in this program. Since it is unlikely your student will have a car and since Loyola has limited bus service and offers little access to shopping facilities, transportation may be a problem. Providing transportation at your convenience for errands or to necessary appointments would be a great service.
What Are Some Issues in Which I Should Not Become Involved
- Students are financially responsible for themselves. Do not feel any obligation to pay the students’ expenses when you socialize together.
- There are employment restrictions on student visas. Always direct the students to International Student Services before suggesting employment options to them.
- Students may have problems with visa and immigration issues. It is best if you direct them International Student Services rather than get involved.
- If students are having major medical, financial or personal problems, please direct them to the Office of International Programs so that we can make the appropriate referrals.
How Can I Make the Most of This Experience
- Ask the students what name to use when addressing them. Practice the correct pronunciation of the student’s name. Your efforts will be appreciated.
- Ask the students if they have any dietary restrictions before having them over for a meal. Dietary restrictions may be physical, religious or cultural.
- Do a little reading on the student’s culture before meeting them. This will help “break the ice” as well as help you understand some of the possible cultural barriers that you may face.
- American’s live by the clock much more than many other cultures. If you are scheduling to meet the students, be clear with them that you will expect them at the time discussed.
- Students may hesitate to contact you at first. Students may feel that they are burdening you or may hesitate to accept an invitation during busy school periods. Do not give up, they are happy to receive your attention and support.
- Finally, don’t be discouraged if conversation is awkward at first. It’s a new experience for both of you. Understand that the student’s ways of doing things are not the same as ours. Discussing these differences will help you bot
How Do I Become a Host