Host Family Frequently Asked Questions

What is the H-SC Host Family Program?

The Hampden-Sydney Host Family Program matches alumni, retired faculty and staff, and local families with students whose homes are far from our campus. Each year we are delighted to welcome students from other regions of the country as well as international students from all over the world. Host families extend a hand of friendship and help students become acquainted with life in Southside Virginia.

What are the program benefits?

Hosting a student from another region or culture can be a very rewarding experience.

It is an opportunity to learn about other parts of the country, other cultures, and other worlds and to develop a friendship with a Hampden-Sydney student who is far from home.

What are some fun activities for the families and students?

Activities do not have to be elaborate to be enjoyable. They can include going shopping, going to a sporting event, or a visit to historic places of interest. 

Here are some suggestions:

  • Attend an H-SC sporting or on-campus cultural event together
  • Prepare a birthday dinner or occasional home cooked meal
  • Go to a movie or out bowling
  • Go for a hike or canoe trip
  • Go to a museum
  • Take a day trip to historic sites in Charlottesville, Richmond, or Appomattox
  • Take a trip into DC
  • Go to a regional shopping mall
  • Invite them to help you with the Halloween trick or treaters
  • Include them in special family holiday celebrations such as Thanksgiving or Christmas if they are remaining on campus.

What is the time commitment?

We request that you sign on as host for the full academic year. However, you may choose to continue beyond the first year. In some cases the friendship may last throughout the student's time at Hampden-Sydney.

Your individual time with the student is by mutual agreement and determined by your individual schedules. You may meet as often as is convenient throughout the semester. Keep in mind that as the semester goes on students become involved in their studies and may not have time for socializing. However, an occasional phone call to say hello can be important during these busy times.

What are the students' roles and responsibilities?

Each student is expected to:

  • Communicate with his host family on a regular basis
  • To return phone calls and emails
  • To attend events with and participate in host family outings whenever possible
  • To learn more about the host family's history and culture
  • To make the most of this unique opportunity

How are the students matched with the host families?

The Office of Intercultural Affairs or the Host Family Program Committee will review the information on your application and match you with a student based on the information in their application.

When do we meet the students?

A reception will be held to introduce the students and families.

How do I sign up to be a host family?

Fill out the application ( pdf version, word doc version, online version) and return it to:
Assistant Dean of Students for Intercultural Affairs and New Student Orientation
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943

Tips for a smooth host/student relationship

  • Call occasionally to see how the student is getting along over the course of the semester.
  • Alcohol should not be served to students during host family events.
  • Students and families should recognize that people come from many different backgrounds and religions and that any differences must be respected.
  • The host family is not financially responsible for the student and students should not ask the families for money. However it is appropriate for the host family to pay for museum entrances and other related costs when on special outings.
  • The student/ family relationship is a friendship and the student should not expect the family to act as a taxi service.
  • Keep in mind that international students on non-immigrant student visas have very strict regulations that govern off campus employment while in the U.S. If you are hosting an international student do not ask him to babysit or hire him to tutor you or your family in a foreign language. This is considered employment and could put the student in violation of his visa.