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New host family program will match local families with international students

ISSUED: 8 November 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University is looking for local families willing to adopt the international students who are attending college here by starting a host family program that will match families with the students.

Dr. Lois Jarman, director of Shepherd’s Intensive English Language Program, said the student would continue to live on campus, but each host family will serve as a local contact. Jarman said the program is open to anyone wanting to make an international student feel welcome.

“This could be people who are interested in having a little bit of international flair in their lives, learning about the countries where our students are coming from, and sharing American culture with them,” Jarman said.

Potential host families will go through an application process designed to match them with students who have similar interests. There will also be a training session that outlines expectations and gives families campus contact information.

Jarman said the host families are asked to invite the students into their homes, take them places like amusement parks, historical sites, and shopping, and spend the holidays with them.

“A lot of our holiday traditions are unique to the United States, like Halloween and Thanksgiving,” Jarman said. “Those are really culturally different days for our international students.”

Jarman said the program aims to give the host families and the students the opportunity to learn about each other’s countries and culture.

“I think it’s good for the students to have a local connection,” Jarman said. “They’re on campus here with other students and they’re experiencing life on the university level with campus housing and those sorts of things, but they’re really not having that close contact with a family and sharing what life is like at home.”

Shepherd currently has about 20 international students and that number is expected to go up during the spring semester.

Anyone interested in becoming a host family can contact Jarman at

Listen to the interview HERE.

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