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Stony Brook international students at a party hosted by the Colatosti family of Setauket. Photo from Stony Brook University

Soon hundreds of international students will be arriving at Stony Brook University to begin their academic careers in search of advanced degrees. For most, it will be their first time in the United States. They have no family or friends here, and are in a completely foreign and unfamiliar environment.

The Host Family Program, a community-based organization now in its fourth decade, provides a newly arrived international student with the friendship of a local American family. Run by volunteers with the cooperation of the university, it has been directed by Rhona Goldman since 1974. It is not a home-stay program; students live on or near campus. Host families invite students to share a meal, some sightseeing, or a favorite activity.

Both students and host families have the enriching experience of a cultural exchange and gain perspective about the world. A host family may be a retired couple, a family group, or a single individual. The only prerequisite is the desire to make an international student feel comfortable.

Students will arrive on campus in late August for the start of the fall semester and are looking forward to meeting an American family. The university will host a reception for the students and the host families to meet each other before the semester begins.

There is always a shortage of local volunteers to host all the students who apply. To learn more about hosting, email Rhona Goldman at: [email protected]