Ozarks seeking host families

Release Date: 9/9/1998

Clarksville, Ark. --- How would you like to help a student from Ethiopia get over homesickness? Or help a student from Ireland understand American culture? Or learn more about other countries yourself from someone who knows first-hand? Or even make a life-long friend from halfway around the world?

Those are some of the opportunities awaiting people who participate in University of the Ozarks' International Host Family Program. Ozarks' Student Life Office is currently seeking families from the area to serve as host families for its international students.

The nonresidential program --- the students do not live with the families --- emphasizes the understanding and sharing of cultures between the host families and international students. Host families also offer support and encouragement to the foreign students, many of whom are away from home for the first time.

"Host families can really make a difference in an international student's success here," said Joe Hoing, dean of students at Ozarks. "This is their new home away from home and this program is a way to help them feel more comfortable."

Hoing said host families are encouraged to keep in regular contact with their students.

"We ask that the host families get involved with their students by inviting them over for dinner occasionally or taking them shopping or just helping them find their way around the area," he said. "The main thing is that we want the host families to let the students know they are available for help or support whenever they need it."

Ozarks has 70 foreign students enrolled for the fall semester, including students from Ethiopia, Japan, Ireland, Central America and Mexico.

For more information or to be considered for the host family program, contact Sue Johnson in the Student Life Office at (501) 979-1322.