Homestay Student Information
The 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:
- Keeping reasonable hours, appropriate for a guest in a home.
- Being careful to turn out lights when you are not using them.
- Being on time for dinner or appointments.
- Letting your family know where you are going and approximately what time you will return. This is normal behavior for an American family.
- Being reasonable about requests for transportation.
- Keeping your room and bathroom clean and tidy.
- Offering to share expenses if your family takes you places.
Things You Should Not Expect:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 four weeks for directly admitted students or one GE term for INTO OSU 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.
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.
How will I learn about my host family?
Your 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 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.
Basic guidelines for daily living
Your host family will instruct you on the following:
- Bathroom: You are responsible for your own personal hygiene toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, shaving equipment, personal products, etc.).
- Bedroom: You are responsible for keeping your bedroom clean and orderly. Do not leave clothes and damp towels or on the floor.
- Laundry: If you are responsible for your own laundry, find out what kind of detergent to buy and how and when to use the washer and dryer.
- Kitchen: Follow house rules for kitchen responsibilities.
- Safety Issues: Listen carefully to your host family. They are familiar with the local area and any safety issues you need to be aware of.
- Schedules: Coordinate with your host family the best times to start your laundry, take showers, return home to meet for meals and other events, etc.
- Bus route: Your host family is required to show you how to ride the bus to/from school.
- Bike route: Your host family is required to show you where to ride your bicycle safely to/from school and to local shopping, and to explain the local traffic laws related to bicycles on the road, as an option for daily transportation.
OSU Homestay is a smoke-free program. In addition, the OSU campus will be smoke-free starting September 1, 2012.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com.
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:
- Keep open channels of communication with your host family and work together to encourage understanding of each other.
- Contact the Homestay Program coordinator if there are any difficulties, and request assistance and mediation when necessary (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Respect the recommendations, suggestions and decisions of the Homestay Program coordinator assisting in the resolution of any difficult situation. This may include, if necessary, having you move out before your stay is complete.
- Do your best to make the homestay experience a positive one.
- Remember that living cross-culturally can be challenging but very rewarding.
Once 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.
- 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 non-INTO OSU 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 a “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.
- Cancellation by the University: The University may terminate this Contract for any reason after serving a thirty (30) days written notice to the Student.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 30 days notice for non-compliance or violation of any terms and conditions of the Contract.
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/
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.