Homestay Student Information

 

Apply to be a Homestay Student

Apply to share a holiday with a local family

Read about holiday host families

Read the Homestay Housing Contract

Read the INTO OSU Homestay Housing Contract

Wilcox homestay familyThe OSU Homestay Program is administered through University Housing & Dining Services (UHDS) and is intended to give international students an in-depth cultural experience with a local family. Whether four weeks or fifty-two, homestays provide fantastic cultural-immersion opportunities in which international students will have experiences unique to the United States, Oregon, Corvallis, and individual families. While you are a homestay student, you can rely on UHDS for support in making this the Experience of a Lifetime for both you and your host family.

OSU Homestay Program Students

Homestay Providers are carefully chosen by the University for their kind and caring personalities. The selection of each family is made after a thorough background check and review of references. Every Homestay Provider participates in an orientation and training program before the international student arrives.

As a student you should recognize that being in a Homestay is a privilege. It is important to understand that the homestay is meant to be a cultural exchange. You are expected to interact with your host family and spend time with them. Your homestay should NOT be treated as just a place to stay. Students are expected to make an effort to communicate and cooperate with their hosts.

Every effort will be made to find a home that is representative of the wide variety of American families and one that supports you while studying at OSU. Since every home is different, every Homestay is a unique environment. A host 'family' may consist of a single woman, a single man, or a couple.  Some families will have children, some will not. Some hosts are students.  Some work full-time.  And some are retired Americans who enjoy sharing their homes with international students. Many Homestay families have pets (dog and/or cat) in the house. Homestay students are expected to live with their hosts as "family members." As such, you may be invited to participate in a variety of family traditions, activities, and outings. You may also be expected to keep your bedroom clean or help with shared tasks like cleaning up after a family meal. 

Due to the popularity of the Homestay program, spaces may be limited. You should apply as early as possible for the best chance of receiving a placement.

Things Your Host Family Will Appreciate You Doing:

  1. Keeping reasonable hours, appropriate for a guest in a home.
  2. Being careful to turn out lights when you are not using them.
  3. Being on time for dinner or appointments.
  4. Letting your family know where you are going and approximately what time you will return. This is normal behavior for an American family.
  5. Being reasonable about requests for transportation.
  6. Keeping your room and bathroom clean and tidy.
  7. Offering to share expenses if your family takes you places.

Things You Should Not Expect:

  1. You should not expect to be waited on. You will find that you will get much closer to your family if you help with family duties. Americans are busy and expect Homestay students to be helpful.
  2. You should not expect your host family to take you on all their family trips. If they do, you should offer to help with gasoline and other expenses. Your family may not accept your offer, but you should plan to share expenses.
  3. You should not expect your host family to entertain you. You and your friends should arrange things to do. Your host family will probably help you make arrangements, but you should not expect them to plan your days or all of your activities for you. If a host family arranges for tickets as a courtesy to you, you should offer to pay for the tickets immediately. Host families are not a sightseeing service. They will want to do what they can for you, but you should not expect it.

Length of Homestays

Length varies depending on the needs of the student and the host’s preferences. Currently, the minimum length of a homestay is one academic term or one 6-week session for INTO OSU General English students.  Homestay assignments can be extended at the end of a reservation, if both the host and student agree to the extension and contact the Homestay Program in advance of the reservation end date.

Short-term (Break) Homestay

Students interested in living with a homestay family during academic breaks (when classes aren't in session) must have a valid UHDS contract on file (either on-campus or homestay).  New students (students who haven't attended OSU classes prior to living in homestay) interested in homestay prior to the start of Fall Term must be moving onto campus in order to be placed with a Homestay family.

Weekend Homestay Program

International students living in UHDS facilities are able to have a homestay experience with a local family one weekend between Week 3 and Week 10 of the term. During their weekend homestay, students spend time with a family living in Corvallis or the surrounding area (Corvallis, Philomath, or Albany).  Each family provides a unique experience for the student. Some may choose a typical American weekend of activities around Corvallis, while others choose to take a trip to an Oregon tourist destination. 

On Friday evening, families pick up the student from a location on-campus, and return the student to campus on Sunday afternoon.  All meals during that time are provided by the family.  Families also provide bedding and towels for the student.  Students are expected to interact with their host family and share their culture.  Hosts understand that many students are at OSU to learn English, and will try to help students work on their language skills during the experience.

Cost for the weekend program is $100 and will be applied to OSU student accounts after placement has been accepted.

Apply for the weekend Homestay Program

How will I learn about my host family?

Fullmer homestay familyYour placement information will be sent via email as soon as you have been placed with a host family. You will most likely receive your placement information about three to six weeks prior to your departure. This introduction e-mail will include contact information for your hosts so that you may be in touch before you arrive and make any special arrangements. If we are unable to place you with a host family, we will notify you within two weeks of your departure.

Conversation and family activities

The purpose of students living with host families is to learn about American culture and to practice English. Please participate in family activities and conversations. If you need assistance understanding your homework, please ask your host family when the best time to receive their help is. Speaking clearly and slowly and writing things down may aid communication.

During the homestay experience

UHDS personnel will be available 24/7 to respond to emergencies and at any other time during the homestay experience to help ensure that it is positive for both the student and the host.

Expectations of Students

Your host family will instruct you on the following:

Student's List of Expected Personal Expenses:

Smoking

OSU Homestay is a smoke-free program.  In addition, the OSU campus will be smoke-free starting September 1, 2012.

Alcohol

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21.  Students under 21 are not allowed to drink in hosts’ homes or public places.  Some hosts allow students over the age of 21 to drink in their homes.  Students caught drinking illegally may face serious consequences.

Conflict

Students as well as families are encouraged to contact the OSU Homestay Program any time they have a question or concern. We are here to help solve any misunderstandings or problems that may arise. If we do not hear from you, we assume that everything is fine. We hope that host families and students have a good experience together. If you have a problem you cannot resolve, please contact us at homestay@oregonstate.edu. However, if you or your host family feels there is a conflict in placement, then we ask that University Housing and Dining Services be contacted immediately for conflict resolution. In most cases, communication and misinterpretations caused by language and cultural differences are the common culprits in host family and student difficulties. Should it be an irreconcilable issue, efforts will be made to relocate you as soon as possible.

We assign home placements based on the information gathered from applications and/or interviews. We hope to match you with a host family that will provide an enjoyable learning experience for you and for the host family. A successful placement takes effort from all involved. Both you and your host family need to make a good faith effort so the host will work.  Please remember it takes effort for the student and hosting family relationship to work. We ask you and your host family to have realistic expectations. We are here to help you and your host family make the most of your time together. Please feel free to contact us anytime at homestay@oregonstate.edu.

Damage

OSU Homestay Program is not responsible for any damages to host family property caused by you. You will need to pay for damages before you move out if it is determined you are at fault. We are here to help mediate between you and your host family if needed.

The student agrees to:

Leaving Homestay

The OSU Homestay Program works to match students and families based on information shared in the application process.  In rare cases, a student and family do not match well after the student moves in.  If this occurs, you have options that include moving to another homestay (if space is available) or moving into a residence hall on campus.  If you are having problems with your host family please speak with your host family about the issues you are facing, and email the Homestay Program for assistance talking with your host and to discuss your options for moving.

Cancellation Policy 

mapOnce a student’s application has been submitted, the student will be part of the OSU Homestay Program until a cancellation form has been submitted.  If the student cannot be placed in a homestay, an email will be sent to the student, giving the student the choice to cancel the application or be placed on the Homestay Program waitlist. 

Students wishing to cancel their Homestay before the end of their placement will be charged for 30 days of homestay from the date of cancellation submission. Students may stay in the homestay during this time.  INTO OSU students must make an appointment with the INTO Housing Coordinator before submitting their cancellation form.  Students on the Homestay Program Waitlist may also submit a cancellation form to be removed from the waitlist.

  1. Cancellation by Student:  If an INTO OSU Student has either signed a Contract for the Program or accepted placement with a homestay family and cancels prior to the date of their intended move-in, the housing deposit for INTO OSU students will be forfeited.  If a directly-admitted student has accepted placement with a homestay family by signing a contract for the program and cancels prior to the date of their intended move-in, the student will be charged for 30 days of occupancy.  If a Student has signed a Contract and has taken Occupancy, they are required to submit written “Homestay Cancellation Form” at least thirty days in advance of moving out.  Homestay fees are charged for a minimum of 30 days from the date the vacate notice is received.
  2. Cancellation by the University:  The University may terminate this Contract for any reason after serving a thirty (30) days written notice to the Student. 
  3. Cancellation due to Availability:  Should accommodation in a Host Facility become unavailable at any point during the Residency Period, UHDS will offer accommodation in a residence hall based on availability.  If the Student does not accept accommodation in the residence hall, this Contract shall be immediately terminated. 
  4. University Remedy for Non-Compliance: The University may terminate this Contract for Student non-compliance with this Contract and/or violation of UHDS or University Policy with proper notice:
    1. 24-hours notice if the Student or someone in the Student’s control seriously threatens to inflict personal injury or inflicts any substantial personal injury upon University employees other Students, Hosts, or guests of the Host; inflicts any substantial damage to the premises; or commits any act which is outrageous in the extreme on the premises or in the immediate vicinity of the premises, defined as an act that a reasonable person in that community would consider to be so offensive as to warrant immediate termination, considering the seriousness of the act or the risk to others.
    2. 30 days notice for non-compliance or violation of any terms and conditions of the Contract.

Homestay Cancellation Form

Arrival Weekend Homestay

Students who are looking for a short-term (3 day) homestay for the first weekend they arrive are encouraged to contact Crossroads International and visit their website at http://oregonstate.edu/international/crossroads/

Questions?

If you have questionsabout living with an OSU Homestay Program host, please fill out our information request form or call 541.737.4771 and an OSU Homestay Program staff member will connect with you to answer your questions.

Apply to be a Homestay Student

Holiday host biographies

Rolston Family

Irene Rolston is an instructor who will be sharing Thanksgiving with her 22-year-old son.  They are looking for 1 student to join them for dinner, conversation, and possibly games. 

Pets: 1 large Border Collie dog, 1 small Springer Spaniel puppy, and a medium size African Grey parrot

Time: 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Menu: Salmon, chicken potatoes, salad or other green vegetable, pumpkin pie, wine/beer

Dress: Casual dress

 

Carmichael Family

David and Amanda Carmichael are an OSU electrician and a nurse who will be sharing Thanksgiving with their 14-year-old daughter.  They are looking for up to 2 students to help them prepare traditional foods (by watching and helping if interested), converse at the table (everyone is asked to share something they are thankful for), play card/board games, and maybe take a walk.

Pets: 2 cats and 2 dogs

Time: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Menu: Turkey, ham, sweet and russet potatoes, broccoli, salad, mixed vegetables, pies

Dress: Casual comfortable dress, coat, hat, gloves in case weather permits a walk

 

Rosenlicht/Marley Family

Giovanna and Kevin are an instructor and researcher at OSU who will be sharing Thanksgiving with their 16-year-old son.  They are looking for up to 2 students to join them for a casual Thanksgiving with family and friends.  Students should be prepared, there are pets and they are part of the family (not at the table!).

Pets: 1 large German Shepard dog, 1 VERY large Great Pyrenees dog, and 2 cats

Time: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Menu:  Traditional Thanksgiving meal

Dress: Dressy/Casual dress, jeans are fine if they are nice and clean

 

McElmurry Family

Diana and Darrell McElmurry are a client services representative at the veterinary teaching hospital and an instructional designer who will be sharing Thanksgiving with their 10-year-old son.  They are looking for up to 2 students to share a traditional American Turkey dinner and conversation.  Darrell is a musician and would be happy if guests would like to join in music or play board/card games.  At dinner each person will express something they are thankful for and there will be a Christian prayer before the meal (students will not be required to participate, but are asked to be respectful).

Pets: 1 small dog and 1 cat

Time: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Menu: Traditional American Turkey Dinner with stuffing, gravy, potatoes/yams, vegetables, pie, sparkling cider or wine, tea/coffee.

Dress: Casual

 

Linares Family

Roberto and Terri Linares are an OSU Instructor and a mortgage banker who will be sharing Thanksgiving with their 20-year-old daughter and extended family in Woodburn and Salem.  They are looking for 1 student to join share a traditional American Turkey dinner and conversation with Terri's family in Woodburn and dessert and conversation with Roberto's family in Salem. Activities for the day also include watching football.

Pets: None

Time: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Menu: Traditional American Turkey Dinner with turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, salad, rice, and pie.

Dress: Casual but "nice"