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Friendship with your international student

A BFIS student and host hiking near the FlatironsBoulder Friends of International Students is a great way to meet people from other countries and to really get to know them as individuals, and for them to get to know Americans, too. Boulder host families love this program because of the uniqueness of each of the relationships they've made.

Remember, international students are young adults. They will have busy schedules, and will make friends and contacts among their classmates and in the many international student clubs on campus. They do want to get to know Americans, though. You and your student will need to find a way to make the relationship work, whether it’s by getting together for a monthly dinner or exchanging weekly e-mails or text messages. The students are all different and have different needs. Please feel free to contact us for assistance. If you have questions, you can always call 303-492-8057 or e-mail bfis@colorado.edu.

Frequently asked questions

Highlighted items refer to the BFIS Dinner Network.

How much time am I required to give?
As much as you want. Most hosts meet with their students at least once a month — for dinner, a movie, a sporting event, a hike, a cup of coffee. There are also BFIS-sponsored events throughout the year including a Welcome Picnic in the fall and the Farewell Dinner in the spring.
The BFIS Dinner Network is only for one evening.
What is the BFIS Dinner Network?
BFIS Dinner Network: The initial commitment to the student is one dinner. It is up to you and your student whether you’d like to continue your BFIS friendship.
If you would like a new match, just email bfis@colorado.edu to ask for a new BFIS Dinner Network match.
The BFIS Dinner Network may be perfect for you since it is only one evening. You decide if you would like to meet again.
Does the student live with me?
No. Students are either housed by the University or in an apartment off-campus.
How long does the partnership last?
Traditional BFIS: The initial expected commitment to the student is the first year they are here. After that, it is up to you and your student to decide whether you’d like to continue your BFIS friendship.
The BFIS Dinner Network is only for one evening.
What is my financial obligation?
None! Students are told to bring their own money for events and activities, so don’t feel obligated to pay for them.
I don't speak another language...
That's fine! All students speak at least some English before arriving.
I have physical limitations, and I'm not sure if I can keep up with a student...
That's okay! Simply having your student over for dinner or going to see a movie can be fun for both of you.
I'd like to give it a try, but our family is so busy, and our children are too young...
Having a busy family works well with this arrangement! Remember, these students have families back home, so they are delighted to participate in family activities.
The BFIS Dinner Network may be perfect for you since it is only one evening. You decide if you would like to meet again.
I'm single. Can I host a BFIS student?
BFIS is for everyone! If you are a single host, we will match you with an international student of your gender. Some of our most active hosts are singles!
I live outside of Boulder, can I still host?
Yes! There are several hosts who live in the Boulder-Denver Metro area. All CU Boulder students have RTD bus passes.

Activities and events for you and your student

BFIS events
Check your e-mail in the fall and the spring for information about the Fall Welcome Picnic and Spring Farewell Event!
Dinner
Have your student over for dinner, or invite them out to a restaurant or to get coffee.
Family events
Invite your student over for a family game night, or invite them to attend other family gatherings such as your child's band recital or football game.
Holidays
Have your students over for Halloween, Thanksgiving, winter break (if they don't go back home for the break), St. Patrick's Day, or Easter. Students enjoy participating in uniquely American holidays!
Movies and games
Most students enjoy American cinema, so a trip to the movies followed by a visit to Gateway Park Fun Center could be a good way to get students involved with your family.
Museums
Some students might enjoy visiting the Boulder History Museum, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, or the Leanin' Tree Museum.
Outdoors
Chautauqua or Rocky Mountain National Park can be the perfect place to go hiking, skiing, biking, rock climbing, or on a picnic with your student.
Sporting events
Invite your student to a CU basketball game, a Rockies baseball game, or any other local sporting event.
Summer events
Boulder's famed Shakespeare Festival and tasty Farmer's Market can make for a fun summer outing.
Tours
Help your student learn more about Boulder by going with them on tours such as Banjo Billy's Bus Tour, Celestial Seasoning's factory tour, winery and/or brewery tours (if your student drinks), or even a simple walking tour of Boulder that you yourself can give!

What do hosts say about BFIS?

 

Being a host has been most rewarding. We have at times had up to 3 students and felt very privileged to share a little bit of their precious time...We have a very friendly relationship with our current students, Stephanie and Pook, and always enjoy going out to lunch or dinner with them! I recommend the experience!

Veronique Foster

 

My husband and I have been in BFIS since 1969...Except for the five years when we temporarily moved to Cincinnati, we have always had host students....We had two men from Taiwan who always wanted to cook for us so we planned a day for them to come.  They brought their chopping knives and the ingredients to make dumplings and hot and sour soup and went to work.  I was surprised that they could make beautiful dumplings with nicely crimped edges — and they made at least 100 of them!  They said they always helped in the kitchen and liked to cook.  I watched them and now I have their excellent recipes for dumplings and hot and sour soup — and, when I make their recipes, I always remember the day they cooked in my kitchen. We have found that several of our students want to share food from their countries so now we always plan one day that all our students come to cook one dish and we enjoy an international dinner.

June and William Krantz

 

We have gained so much from hosting a BFIS student. Our children understand another culture, with all its unique customs, the concept of different time zones, etc., - and, we now have someone to visit in Germany! But most of all, we've gained a friend for life. Thank you for the opportunity to participate.

The Rubin family

 

We've enjoyed our involvement with BFIS for over 24 years.  The students have come from all around the world. Not only do we enjoy the friendships of the students we have hosted, but often we meet and become friends with their friends and families.

Several times we have visited our former students in their home countries. In 1989 we visited a student in Bordeaux, France. She told us she would help us improve our French by speaking French while we were visiting, which led to many surprises due to our partial understanding of the conversations.

Often the students have accepted our invitations to stay with us a week or so before their housing opened up. That has been a lot of fun, and we'd often learn things about each other's customs that otherwise we would have never learned. One very enjoyable tradition has been to invite the foreign students to our pre- Thanksgiving potlucks, where they can meet our family and friends, and of course, have some pumpkin pie.

Bob, Ben and Soni

 

Last August [my former student] gave birth to a son, Simon, and I've become Simon's 'Colorado grandmother'. What richness this has added to my life! Every year I've gotten a new student to host and have thoroughly enjoyed learning from them about their countries....I LOVE this program and would encourage anyone to give it a try.

Phyllis Schwartz

 

We have been hosting international students since shortly after our marriage—this is our 50th anniversary year so I guess that makes it 49 years! The students have enriched our lives and those of our family and friends. Our first student was a 15-year old CU student from Cuba who became an architect and married a Boulder girl.  Next, for four years, we had a graduate student and his wife from Spain.  He received his doctorate in aeronautical engineering and worked with the European space agency. His daughter received her degree here in film and his granddaughters—third generation—are our goddaughter and my namesake.  That was the beginning, since then, France, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Japan, Korea, Tunisia, Germany, China, Turkey, Jordan, Iran, Indonesia, and presently, India, have been represented in our homes and our lives... Several have returned here and we have visited them and their families. We have wonderful memories and stories to tell as well as life-long friends around the world — all because of the CU-Boulder Friends of International Students.

Barbara and Jim Gigone

3 Don'ts

  1. Don't lend money or co-sign leases or notes.
  2. Don't give legal or academic advice. Please call International Student and Scholar Services at 303-492-8057 with questions regarding visas, accidents, legal matters, insurance, etc.
  3. Don't proselytize religion or politics, although it is acceptable to answer questions on these topics or to take a student to a religious place or a political rally if they request to do so.

 

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