Friends of International Students

Enjoying the Friends of International Students games night - Feb. 2015
Enjoying the Friends of International Students games night – Feb. 2015

Friends of International Students (FIS), also known as the “Host Family Program,” is a non-residential host family program for international, exchange, and global nomad students and language assistants. It is a cooperative effort between ISS and volunteers in the local community. Our goal is to connect students with local families who will support their experience here as well as enjoy the opportunity for cultural exchange.

Many FIS matches result in true and lasting friendships! Other relationships are less interactive but are still helpful for a student whose family lives very far away.

FIS Application Forms

FIS Volunteer Coordinators

  • Karrie McAllister
  • Melanie Reusser-Garcia
  • Suzanne Wagner

How Does the Program Work?

This is a friendship program. Students live on campus (NOT with their host family) and meet their families anywhere from once a week to 3-4 times a year. It is up to each student/family to determine how frequently to meet.

What Do Families and Students Do Together?

As with any other relationship, successful participation in FIS will depend on the efforts YOU put into the program. ISS hosts several events throughout the year to bring families and students together, but you are encouraged to be creative and to invite and include one another in your everyday lives.

Who Can Participate?


Any international student, one-year exchange student, global nomad student, or language assistant enrolled at The College of Wooster can apply.


FIS Hosts come from local communities and represent a range of life stages and family types. They share myriad talents, experiences, and perspectives with international students, and they enjoy the opportunities for cultural exchange and personal enrichment that FIS brings into their lives.

When are Matches Made?

New matches are made before the beginning of the Fall semester (late July/early August) and, as needed, in January.

Please note: Host Families are NOT expected to provide break housing and it is never appropriate for a student to ask their host family for financial assistance. ISS is a resource for questions regarding activities, setting limits, and mutual expectations related to the FIS experience. If matches are not successful, you simply need to let us know!

FIS support is a central feature of ISS’ mission. You are invited to contact us or one of the three Volunteer coordinators any time that you have questions or creative ideas, or you would like advice on working with your FIS partner.

Spend time and energy to make your FIS relationship successful. It will be well worth the effort!