The practice of hospitality deeply identifies many cultures, and being that International House is a nest away from home for many international students, we proudly and thoughtfully cultivate hospitality.
That is why, years ago, I-House created the Host Family Program to forge memorable relationships between foreign students and amazing local families through the simple but invaluable gift of hospitality. Every year our amazing volunteers and friends of I-House occasionally host one or more students for a dinner, a mini trip, an evening of conversation, a game night. The goal is to ease the international students transition to the new country and to help them understand the local community and way of life. But there is so much more that is shared: beautiful memories, cultural revelations, new perspectives on life, surprises, fun, friendship. The commitment is minimal but the rewards are great, as our enrollment form states. 🙂
This year I am very proud to be responsible for this incredible program and I happen to know exactly what I will be taking on. I have been one of the foreigners blessed by an I-House family’s hospitality almost six years ago when I first arrived in the US with my husband and son. I remember that family well and over the years they have become very good friends. They opened their house to us and to many other students and visiting scholars. They shared their food, their stories, the beautiful welcoming American culture, and helped us find our place in Berkeley. They have been always there for us since the beginning and have been part of the most important moments of our life here in the Bay Area. They became our friends. And they did it just for the pleasure of being helpful to someone new, coming from…another world.
I-House hosting families share the spirit of true hospitality. They are generous, open minded and curious, they love to help. And in exchange, they get to meet smart young students and researchers, many of whom will certainly be the leaders of tomorrow. Looks like a match made in Heaven and I am very proud to have become I-House official matchmaker!
Enrollment forms are available on the Host Family Program webpage and it’s time, once again, to contact all of I-House friends. Joining is easy and the group is always open to new members who happen to think of themselves as internationalists.
I plan to make this an unforgettable year for I-House families and residents in the Host Family Program. I-House is ready to host the world coming to Berkeley and I am looking forward to being the concierge!