How long am I expected to host my student in our home?
The Solana Beach Host Family Program is meant to include a short homestay—long enough to get to know each other and to be helpful to your student but definitely an interim stop on the way to permanent housing. 3 to 6 days is a good rule of thumb. The length of stay is always at the discretion of the host.
What time of year do the students and scholars arrive in San Diego?
Probably 80% of them arrive for the fall term which starts in late September. So they arrive between September 1st and the 20th. The other 20% arrive throughout the year.
Will my student speak English?
Yes. Everyone accepted at UC San Diego must be able to converse in English.
How are students matched with hosts?
Periodically, hosts will receive an email that shows what students currently need hosts. These emails will include a summary of the students’ applications and will provide lots of information about each student. It is then up to you to respond to the email and request a student based on how compatible you feel the student will be with your family.
Do I need to drive my student to campus every day?
Most hosts will insure that their student gets to and from campus on their first day. After that, public transportation may work or perhaps you can arrange carpooling with another host family.
If my student doesn’t have permanent housing arranged before her arrival in San Diego, am I expected to assist?
This is completely up to you. Often times, a student will arrange to see several apartments or rooms and her host will set aside an afternoon and offer to drive. Hosts can also be helpful in giving advice about neighborhoods, distances, bus routes, etc. It is always a good idea to confirm with your student how long you expect her to stay with you. Having a move out date will motivate a student to find something quickly.
What kinds of things do hosts do with their students?
This could include almost anything you would do with a friend new to San Diego. Most students will need to get a mobile phone or sim card. Most will want to open a bank account. Some will need help buying sheets, towels, kitchen utensils, etc. If your student is moving into an unfurnished apartment, a trip to a thrift store may be in order.
The job of a host is not to be a tour director. We really want students to see how average Americans live on a day-to-day basis. So, ask if your student wants to do errands with you. Going to a supermarket or maybe to Costco is usually fun and interesting. Take hikes together. Maybe go out for meal. Most importantly, make time for talking. Find out about your student’s life back home, his family, interests, university life, and family faith tradition. And be willing to share this same kind of information about yourself. Most hosts find that it is endlessly interesting to discuss what things are different here than in their student’s home country, but also what things are the same. This should be a real cultural exchange in which you both learn something new.
Finally, once your student has moved into his permanent housing, stay in touch and plan things together. Meet for coffee; include him in your family events, birthdays, holidays, Super Bowl parties, community service opportunities and so on. You may find you develop a friendship that lasts a lifetime!