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Host Program for International Students


The purpose of The Host Program for International Student (Host Program) is to match Harvard international graduate students who have never lived in the United States with a host(s) from the Greater Boston area for the first year of their stay. Through this informal program, students will be matched with local hosts, people who will welcome and help the student transition to life in the United States. This is a friendship program and not a live-in program. A link to the application for this program is included in the students respective school's portal or on a hard copy brochure in the admissions packet.

Who are the students?
Priority is given to international graduate students who have never lived in the United States before. The overall goal is to match all international students who apply.

Who are the volunteers/hosts?
Hosts are Boston area residents who reflect America's diverse society. They live in local communities and come from many ethnic, socio-economic, and religious backgrounds. Hosts' ages range from being in their 20s to being in their 80s and hosts may be single, couples, or families with children. All hosts share an interest in helping others and being sensitive to and learning more about other cultures.

How long does it take to be matched?
Most applications are received by the end of May. Hosts are then contacted to choose a student, which can require some time to accomplish. It is our hope that the time we spend communicating with the hosts will increase the chance for a successful match.

Are hosts paid?
No, their participation in this program is purely voluntary with no remuneration. Their aim is to be helpful in a friendly and supportive way.

What do hosts do?
Hosts help students in many different ways. Some may meet students upon arrival at airports. Others may assist with both the overwhelming and exciting process of settling in and becoming acclimated to new surroundings. While hosts do not provide housing, they may offer occasional meals, interesting outings, stimulating conversations, encouraging words, and/or holiday celebrations.

What do students do with their hosts?
To further enrich the exchange, students may invite their hosts to university cultural/intellectual activities, to go out for walks, to give a tour of their labs, to prepare dishes from their countries, etc. Some hosts have fond memories of the Harvard campus life either as undergraduates or graduate students themselves. Others have never attended or worked at Harvard and have never been in some of the buildings. So what is mundane to students may very well be of interest to their hosts. Students are welcome to these events with or without their hosts.

Are there events where the program gathers as a whole?
The Host Program organizes a few informal activities during the year where hosts and students can come together as a group. There will be some cultural outings that will be free; others that may require a fee. A couple of pot lucks will be held. This is where everyone comes and brings a dish or beverage to share. Hosts will inform their students when and where these events take place. Students are welcome to attend these events without there hosts or vice versa.

What makes a match successful?
Each student-host pairing is unique. It is the student and his/her host(s) who share the building block for a mutually rewarding friendship. Such friendship can enormously enrich life outside the classroom for the students. It may, in fact, last years beyond the students' study time at Harvard.

How does a student apply?
International students get an application form in their admissions packets with a brochure of the Host Program. The brochure gives students details on how to apply on-line to the program. If you did not receive this packet and would like to apply please send an e-mail message to Zarrin Foster stating in the subject line "Request for Host Program Application" and in the body of the message provide your full name as was submitted to the admissions office, the degree program you have been admitted to and the name of the school you will be attending at Harvard.


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