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Friendship with your Boulder host

BFIS students with host during ChristmasThere is more to education than lectures, textbooks, and term papers. Some of your most rewarding and informative experiences while in the United States will occur outside the classroom and library. Boulder Friends of International Students is a group of local people in Boulder who help international students meet Americans and learn about their culture through shared experiences.

Students participate in many activities and events with hosts. Common activities include birthday celebrations, picnics, visits to historical sites, sporting events, and holiday celebrations. These activities provide opportunities to learn about the American way of life and make friends with people in the community. Often the friendships that develop between students and the Americans they meet last a lifetime and bridge the distance between countries and cultures. 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 often do I meet with a friendship host?
Traditional BFIS students and hosts meet once or twice a month. You can set a mutually convenient schedule with your host.
The BFIS Dinner Network is only for one evening.
What is the BFIS Dinner Network?
The BFIS Dinner Network is an alternative to the longer term commitment of the traditional host/student program. The BFIS Dinner Network is only for one evening.
Students and hosts can decide together whether to meet again.
Students and hosts can have multiple matches. If you would like a new match, just email bfis@colorado.edu to ask for a new BFIS Dinner Network match.
Do I live with a host?
No. However, hosts can often provide extra support and information about life in Boulder.
What do I do with my host?
Students and their hosts do lots of things! You can meet for dinner, go hiking, visit a museum, go to a sporting game, or do any other sort of activity.
How long does the partnership last?
Traditional BFIS asks for a commitment with your host for the first year you are here. After that, it is up to you and your host to decide if you’d like to continue your BFIS friendship.
The BFIS Dinner Network is only for one evening.
What does it cost?
It is free to join! BFIS is a non-profit organization and none of its hosts are paid. However, you will need to pay your own way for any activities you and your host go to.
I'd like to give it a try, but I'm very busy with school...
Meeting just once or twice a month is ideal for busy students. Just be sure to plan events as fun breaks from studying, and not right before a big exam you'll be cramming for.
The BFIS Dinner Network is only for one evening.

Suggestions for interacting with your host

Gifts
It is a good idea to bring your host a small gift of appreciation from your home country to thank them for hosting you. Good gifts include postcards, small souvenirs or crafts, or food items.
Photos
Hosts like to see where you are from. Show them pictures of your home, your family, your friends, your pets, or your school.
Dinner
Hosts love to try traditional food from your country. Invite them over for a home-cooked meal, or offer to cook dinner for them in their own home. Dinner is a great way to share culture and start conversation!
Events
Inviting your host to an event on or off campus is a good way to keep a positive relationship with your host.
Communicate
Respond quickly to e-mails or phone calls from your host. It is considered rude if you don't respond within a day or so.
Go outside to smoke
Many Americans do not like to be around smokers. If you smoke, please refrain from doing so while around your host.
Ask questions
If you don't understand something, ask! Your host will be happy to explain anything about Boulder or American culture.
Thank you notes
If your host does something nice for you, it is a good idea to send them a card or an e-mail thanking them for their help. Your hosts like to be appreciated!
Keep in touch when you return
Your host will want to hear from you when you return home to your country, so keep in touch with them via phone, e-mail, or Skype. Sometimes, they might even decide to take a vacation to visit you!

What do students say about BFIS?

 

Thank you so much for bringing us to [our host family]. We are very happy with them and learned a lot about American culture. It's a great way to communicate between two cultures. They are just like our family and keep us away from loneliness here.

Man Lu

 

I really liked the BFIS program because it gave me the opportunity to do things that I otherwise probably would have been able to do- for example, my Boulder buddies took me for the most amazing hike in the Rocky Mountain National Park, which is one of the highlights of my stay in Colorado. They also invited me to a Super Bowl party and to a Thanksgiving dinner. It helps to expand the experience I've had in America. It's also useful to have an adult presence in Boulder who can act as a 'go-to' point if things get difficult outside of academics. I really recommend it to future students.

Ami Cattrall

 

The rewards of participating in a community program with American hosts are many, from discovering new and valuable friends to expanding your knowledge of a different culture. By educating Americans about your country, you will be contributing to greater understanding among the peoples of the world and, in turn, your efforts may help increase the prospects for peaceful relations among nations.

Anonymous

3 Don'ts

  1. Don't expect your host to pay for you if they take you to an event that costs money. Be sure to bring enough money to pay for yourself.
  2. Don't ask your host to pick you up if you live far away from them. Remember that you can use Boulder's bus system - it's free with your Buff One Card! For more info, visit the RTD website here.
  3. Don't seek legal or academic advice from your host. Please call International Student and Scholar Services at 303-492-8057 with questions regarding visas, accidents, legal matters, insurance, etc. Please contact your academic advisor for academic questions.

 

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