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Guidelines and Expectations For Matched Students and Families

Guidelines and Expectations for International Students and Scholars 

  1. The LIFE program is a social relationship meant to facilitate friendship and cultural understanding.  Hosts are NOT expected to provide housing for international students, or assistance with financial, academic, or medical problems. The office of International Programs can assist you with these issues.  
  2. Student(s) are matched to a local family for a period of 3 months to one year depending on the start date.  If the relationship is beneficial, we encourage you to continue it as long as you are studying at JMU.
  3. Participants are expected to attend the LIFE Kick-Off at the beginning of each semester where they will meet their friendship family.
  4. Friendship families should invite you to participate in social events and activities that will introduce you to new aspects of American culture.  You are encouraged to also invite your friendship family to activities that are important to you as well, such as a presentation you will give, a birthday celebration or a sporting event.
  5. Be patient and open minded as you observe differences in culture.
  6. Religious institutions are an important aspect of American culture. If you wish, you should have the opportunity to learn about them. However, if you are invited to a religious activity, ask your friendship family about the nature of the event and then decide if you want to participate or not. Remember that you have the right to choose.
  7. You must be willing to pay for yourself for activities that you participate in with the friendship family (movies, shopping, etc.). If the activity is too expensive, politely alert your friendship family.
  8. If, for any reason, your friendship family is not compatible with you, it is reasonable to request a change.  Do not neglect the situation. To discuss, contact Hunter Swanson, the LIFE program coordinator.

Guidelines and Expectations for Friendship Families

  1. The LIFE program is a social relationship meant to facilitate friendship and cultural exchange.  Hosts are NOT expected to provide housing for international students, or assistance with financial, academic, medical or psychological difficulties.  Students should be encouraged to contact the office of International Programs (oIP) or the appropriate services at JMU to address these concerns. 
  2. Students and families are matched for a period of up to one year depending on the start date.  If the relationship is beneficial, we encourage you to continue it as long as the student is studying at JMU.
  3. Participants are expected to attend the LIFE reception at the beginning of each semester where they will meet their student(s).   
  4. Friendship families are urged to connect at least once per month. Whenever possible, we suggest that you invite your student to join you for birthday parties, athletic events, concerts, lectures, special activities, etc.  Let them experience your typical activities living rather than treating them as guests. This offers them a more genuine view into American culture and will also be easier for you. Also, if your student invites you to one of their events, please try to participate.
  5. Be patient and open minded as you observe differences in culture.
  6. Religious institutions are an important aspect of American culture. International students should be able to learn about them if they wish.  However, if you invite them to a religious event or holiday, clearly state the nature of the event and allow the student the right to choose if they want to participate or not.  Proselytizing is not permitted.
  7. In most cases, allow students to pay their own way to activities they will be told to expect to do this during their orientation. However, be sensitive to the student’s ability to pay when inviting them to participate in an activity.
  8. If, for any reason, your student is not compatible with you and your family, it is reasonable to request a change.  Do not neglect the situation. To discuss, contact Hunter Swanson, the LIFE program coordinator.

Guidelines and Expectations For Non-Matched Students and Families

Guidelines and Expectations for International Students and Scholars 

  1. Attend LIFE program events where you can connect in an informal way with local friendship families.
  2. Be patient and understanding as you observe differences in culture.
  3. The LIFE program is a social relationship meant to facilitate friendship and cultural understanding.  Friendship families are NOT expected to provide housing for international students, or assistance with financial, academic, or medical problems. The Office of International Programs can assist you with these issues.  

Guidelines and Expectations for Friendship Families

  1. Attend LIFE program events where you can connect in an informal way with local friendship families.
  2. Be patient and understanding as you observe differences in culture.
  3. The LIFE program is a social relationship meant to facilitate friendship and cultural understanding.  Friendship families are NOT expected to provide housing for international students, or assistance with financial, academic, or medical problems. The Office of International Programs can assist you with these issues.