Home Away From Home: Host Family Program for International Students at DePauw

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At DePauw, International Student Affairs helps students learn about U.S. culture and enhances relationships between international students and domestic citizens by connecting them with local families through the Hoosier Hospitality Program (HHP). The HHP pairs DePauw’s international students who sign up to find a host family with Greencastle families to exchange culture. 

HHP is not only a chance for students to learn about American  culture, but also a good way for those host families to learn about the culture of that international student. 

Host families are recommended to meet with their student at least three times per semester either on or off-campus, virtually or in person, and make a commitment of one academic year. As most students at DePauw reside in university-provided housing, host families do not need to provide housing for the host students, but they are recommended to meet regularly to form relationships with each other. This program is provided on a yearly basis for first-year students. 

The program matches families and students based on their interests such as sports, fields of study, and hobbies/interests. Lam Nguyen, a first-year student from Vietnam, is involved in the program. “I was matched with a really friendly family. We met last week and we cooked pho, a traditional Vietnamese food, together,” Nguyen said. “The experience was so memorable, they are my family in the U.S. now.” 

Junior Nanami Maezaki, who participated in HHP during her first year at DePauw, also had a positive experience. “Meeting a host family helped me to expose myself to new ways of thinking and living. I realized that life here is different compared to Japan in many ways,” she said.

Ngan Tran, who participated in the HHP this year has not met her host family. “I guess my host family is really friendly; we have not met each other, but we have sent texts to have a meeting and I can’t wait to meet them,” Tran said.

Linh Nguyen who is also signed up for the HHP has not been matched with any host family yet. “The International Student Affairs told me that if more families signed up to be host families, they will inform me,” Nguyen said. 

To sign up to be a host family or to find a host family, go to DePauw’s website and find the  Google form for family or students. For more information about the HHP, contact International Student Affairs (intlstudents@depauw.edu).