Community Connections Program for International Students

The University of Redlands Community Connections Program connects international students in the College of Arts and Sciences with families in the community ("hosts") for support and cross-cultural exchange. Through it, the university gives international students the opportunity to learn more about American cultural life, and gives hosts the chance to learn about other parts of the world and to assist international students in their adjustment to life in Redlands and the United States. The Community Connections Program is not residential - rather, hosts and students meet regularly in the interest of support and community building. The program is administered through our Office of International Students and Scholars, and any questions you have regarding it can be directed to oiss@redlands.edu.

Logistics

OISS bases its matching on the information provided by surveys of hosts (click here) and international students (click here) online, which should be completed by July 31, 2017. We’ll share information about those matches just before the start of fall semester classes.

Students start the program the fall semester of their first year. 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 depending on their schedules. On average, most hosts and students should get together about once a month. We ask for an initial commitment of one academic year, at which time hosts and students will be asked to indicate whether they wish to continue in the program for the following year. It is possible for returning international students to join the program during the fall semester if there are host families available.

We have several group activities planned throughout the year, including a welcome reception in September and an international potluck in February. Other events will be announced as they are scheduled.

Expectations for Hosts

Hosts are students’ connection to the larger community, giving them some insight into life off campus. Host families are encouraged to host students for meals, participate in campus and community events together, offer informal support, and celebrate special occasions together. Hosting does not include a home stay. While families may decide to offer their student housing during breaks in the class schedule, there is no expectation to do so. Families are also not expected to help students with problems such as financial needs or difficulties, legal matters, any kind of immigration matters, or serious medical or personal problems (students should contact oiss@redlands.edu for those matters and for referrals). Host are asked to respect a student's religious and cultural identities, not enforcing their own and being mindful of activities that may make a student uncomfortable.

Expectations for Studentsxpctations for students

Hosts  will likely invite their students to their homes, and to participate in activities that give international students a chance to learn more about life in Redlands, California, and the United States, as well as make new kinds of contacts in the community.  To take full advantage of this relationship, students should be open to new ideas and activities, communicate openly with their host families, and try to spend time regularly with their hosts.  Host families shouldn’t be asked for legal or financial advice, and shouldn’t be expected to house international students during breaks.  For those matters, students should rely on campus resources and especially the Office of International Students and Scholars (oiss@redlands.edu).