Cross-Cultural Connections: Hosting Program for New First-Year International Students (CCMHC)

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Broad, wholesome, charitable views of people and things cannot be
acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.
--Mark Twain

The International Community at Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke has always had a tradition of welcoming international students to its campus. Today, international students make up over 25% of the student body. Our international students hail from 68 different countries and are a very diverse group. Part of our commitment as an educational institution is to enrich not only the learning of our students but to extend this education to the larger community. To achieve these goals, Mount Holyoke College has initiated a program called Cross-Cultural Connections: Hosting Program for International Students.

What is the hosting program for international students?
Mount Holyoke's Hosting Program provides our new international students, who would like to get to know a local family, a connection to American culture beyond the gates of the College. Families will also learn a great deal from our students, most of whom live in dormitories on campus.

Who are Mount Holyoke's international students?
We invite you take a look at International Students at MHC on the Global Initiatives' web site. There you'll find a map with students' home countries and other interesting information.

Who may participate in the program?
Host families may be individuals, couples, partners, or families (with or without children). They may be Mount Holyoke faculty and staff members or members of the local community from all ethnic backgrounds, ages and walks of life. The only prerequisite is that hosts be interested in learning about other cultures, and be willing to share a bit of their own lives with someone from another part of the world.

What are the host's responsibilities?
As a host, you might invite your student to your home for a meal, introduce the student to your friends and family, talk on the phone or email each other, remember birthdays and other special occasions, attend Mount Holyoke events together. The time commitment does not need to be great, and the reward can be tremendous! The amount of time each host and student spend together will vary and depend on the time schedules of both.

We ask for an initial commitment of one academic year, at which time hosts and students are asked to indicate whether they wish to continue in the program for the following year. Ideally, a host and host student should get together several times a semester, but it is entirely up to you and the student. We hope that you will keep in contact with each other on a regular basis via email and/or phone. The McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives organizes two annual get-togethers with all of the students and their hosts.  There is a potluck supper in November and a picnic in May.

What is the international student's role?
The student should be willing to learn about American culture and life in the US outside of Mount Holyoke. She will share information about her country and her cultural traditions with you and accept your invitations whenever possible.

What do I do if I want to participate in this program?
If you would like to apply to be a host, or if you are a new student interested in having a host, please click on the appropriate application form below. Note that both application forms can be filled out and submitted online. If you prefer to print out the application and fill it out, feel free to do so. Then please send it to:

Donna Van Handle
Dean of International Students
McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives
Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA 01075

After we receive your application and have matched students with hosts, Donna Van Handle, Dean of International Students, will contact you and provide additional information.

We invite student participants and hosts to provide us with feedback about the hosting experience. We would like to know how we could improve the program so that it meets your needs. Please take circa 5 minutes to complete the appropriate evaluation form (both can be submitted online). Thanks in advance for your help!