Host families 


Exchange culture – Share experiences – Give back 

Join our non-residential community host program, which pairs Wilmington residents and families with incoming UNCW international students to foster cross-cultural friendship. 


Community hosts help ease 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 connections, oftentimes leading to life-long relationships. Host families are invited to become a part of the international student community at events each semester.

Host Families

International Students


Host Families

Why become a host family?

Bowling night

Have an international experience without leaving Wilmington

Wish you could study abroad yourself, or do you want your kids to have access to international culture and a broader worldview? Create your own international experience right here in Wilmington. Just like you'll share your culture with your student, they'll want to do the same, and you'll learn all about what it's like to live somewhere else. 

Make Wilmington a welcoming place for new students

Make sure our international students feel at home in our town and have the best experience possible.

Share your town and culture

Bring your student to your favorite spot at the beach or invite them to a holiday dinner. Our international students want to explore and learn about what it's like to live here, and most do not have access to a car. You can help them see just what it is you live about living here. In the past host, families have brought their students to festivals and sporting events, gone strawberry picking, visited Downtown or Southport, and shared Sunday brunch or family dinners.  

Improve your foreign language skills

Want to practice a second language? We’ll try to pair you with a student who speaks it fluently so you can have a language exchange, in addition to a cultural one.

Join the Seahawk community

We'll organize at least one event each semester to thank our host families and to give you a chance to meet other international students and host families as well. This year, events included a UNCW basketball game, a bowling night, and a graduation event.

Gain a life-long friend

Many of our host family-student pairings go on to have meaningful relationships well after the program ends. This is just the start!


• Contact your student by phone or email when are paired together to begin getting to know one another.

• Once students arrive, you can make arrangements to meet as your schedule permits. Although students and families are encouraged to meet at least once per month, this is a flexible program, and participants can decide what schedule works best for them.

Testimonials:Host mom and student

In February of this year, Hwayoung Lee (from South Korea) and I met on campus over a cup of coffee at the Dunkin’ Dots in Seahawk Crossing. It was the beginning of many shared adventures. From that first conversation, it became obvious that Hwayoung was excited about getting to know more about the American culture and to experience more of Wilmington beyond campus life. Over the next three months, we had many occasions to explore this city and surrounding areas from Wrightsville Beach to Fort Fisher to the Aquarium to the USS NC Battleship to ferry rides bound for Southport and Bald Head Island. Often my daughter joined us. One memorable day following lunch in my home, Hwayoung, and Tana baked and decorated 96 (!) sugar cookies for a special occasion. We all three enjoyed our conversations with one another. The questions back and forth of what life is like in South Korea and how it is different from life in America presented a learning experience for each of us. The sense of family, the pursuit of a good education, and a love for traveling are shared in both cultures. Hwayoung will always be a bright star in my memory. Being part of the UNCW Community Host program was an amazing experience. I look forward to being part of this endeavor again and again.

--Annette Hall, first-time host family

“We love being a host family. Both our children were exchange students and we know how much they and we have benefited from our experiences. 
It's a great opportunity to exchange ideas, develop mutual understandings, and create long-term friendships."
--Chuck and Lesley Ogrosky




 Application process:

Complete this short online application to help us match you with a student!


If you have any questions, please email OISS at


**In case of an emergency, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students at  910.962.3119 or**


International Students

Why to be paired with a host family?

Connect with local families

It can be hard to settle into a new place, but a family has volunteered to show you around and welcome you to Wilmington. 

Learn about American and North Carolinian culture

The best way to learn about a new culture is through friendship! Our families want to teach you about what it's like to live here, and they want to learn about your home, too. 

Improve your English language skills

Studying in English helps, but having casual conversations with friends is one of the best ways to become fluent. (And learn the most important slang.)

Start a friendship that could last a lifetime

Many of our family - student pairs become fast friends, and stay in touch long after you return home!



“The best part about having a host family is the constant support and guidance you get from them, and a feeling of security that can't be found living alone. It's like you never left home, and gained another parent or sibling on the way!”

--Anis Amir, international student from Pakistan

 Application process:

Complete this short online application to help us match you with a host family!



If you have any questions, please email OISS at