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Hosts needed for Japanese college students coming to U. of I.

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — About 40 Japanese college students are coming to Champaign-Urbana in late July to spend up to a month brushing up on their conversational English.
All of them are hoping to find friendly local hosts to share their American experiences with.

The students will need hosts who can spend time with them getting to know the local community and also provide home stays, including room and board, for two, three or four weeks.

The students are participating in the Intensive English Institute (IEI), the residential language program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The students’ schools, host needs and dates of enrollment in IEI:

• 13 students, men and women, from Dokkyo University in Tokyo need hosts who will meet with them two or three times a week while they are living on campus Aug. 1 to 12, and who then will provide a home stay for them from Aug. 13 to 27;

• 10 students from Konan University in Kobe need home-stay host families from July 31 to Aug. 27;

• Seven female students from Hiroshima Jogakuin University will need home-stay host families from July 31 to Aug. 21;

• 11 female students, also from Hiroshima Jogakuin, will need home-stay families from July 31 to Aug. 29.
The IEI’s short-term programs have had a long and successful run at Illinois, said Anna Kasten, special programs coordinator of the Intensive English Institute.

According to Kasten, students from Konan have been coming to the U. of I. to take intensive English for more than 35 years, while students from Dokkyo have been coming since 1998. It’s the first year for students from Hiroshima. The home-stay option is relatively new, in place only for three years.

Individuals, families and couples, including “empty-nesters,” are welcome to apply as host families. Home-stay hosts put the students up in their homes and provide meals for them, as well as spend time with them in typical household activities or outings – for example, ball games, movies, picnics, concerts and county fairs.

Home-stay hosts receive a stipend to help defray the costs of room and board. Reference and background checks are required of selected home-stay families.
“Since the students are here for such a short period of time, having a home stay offers them a unique opportunity to interact with hosts and fully experience daily life with members of the community,” Kasten said.

Meanwhile, hosts – whose primary language is English and who have extra room to accommodate adult students – have the opportunity to gain “a greater understanding of other countries, cultures and customs,” Kasten said.

Beginning this summer, the IEI is working with OvECS, a private company specializing in coordinating home stays, to organize this aspect of the programs. OvECS’ local coordinator, Tammy Conner, will be interviewing prospective applicants.

IEI and OvECS will hold a host-orientation meeting during which hosts will receive detailed information about their students. After the students arrive, a picnic will be held for hosts and students to meet and get acquainted.

The Homestay Program Application is available online
More information is available by contacting Conner at 217-721-2022.