English Second Language Students sitting by UNCW Seahawk statue

UNCW's Community Host Program

UNCW's Office of International Programs sponsors a non-residential Community Host Program for international students and area residents. The program has existed for more than twenty years and connects over fifty community hosts with dozens of international students each year. Family volunteers are a diverse, globally-minded group comprised of families with small children, single individuals, and retired couples. International students represent more than sixty countries worldwide.

Community Hosts play an important role in easing their students' transition to campus while also providing them an opportunity to engage with American culture in a way they might otherwise not have access to on a traditional college campus. Similarly, students enrich the lives of community hosts through meaningful connection, oftentimes leading to life-long relationships.

The student-host relationship typically begins prior to the start of the semester when community hosts reach out to their students by e-mail. Matches are made by the Office of International Programs and are based on survey responses including gender, smoking, and region preferences. Although it is not required, the majority of hosts meet their students at the airport, drive them to campus, and help them settle into their dormitory.

After befriending one another, the interpersonal commitments are flexible and agreed on between the student and host. Periodic communication and at least monthly meetings are encouraged. Student/host outings in the past have included strawberry picking, attending festivals, sporting events, visits to Downtown or Southport, Sunday brunch, and shared family dinners. No matter the event, students and hosts enjoy the chance for cultural exchange.

Community hosts may apply for assignment with ESL students (who study in America to quickly improve their English proficiency), exchange students (who study at UNCW for one or two semesters), and degree-seeking students (who plan to attend UNCW for a full degree program). See our Host Family video here.

Friendship Family Program brochure