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Community Hosts

The object of our Community Host Program is to introduce international students and visiting scholars to American life and culture and to give community members a chance to learn more about people from other places. Hosts don't provide housing or financial support for students or scholars.

Fill in our online application form to join us. One of our Board members will get in touch to tell you more about being matched with a student or a scholar.

Community Host Program
for International Students

Apply Now!

The Community Host Program matches local families and individuals with international students coming to the University of Virginia. Host families participate in cultural exchange and help students acclimate to life in the United States.

When do students arrive in Charlottesville?

Students arrive in Charlottesville in August, and occasionally in January. Community Hosts are matched with students during the late spring and summer. We ask hosts to get in touch with their students as soon as possible after the match and make arrangements to meet students as soon as possible when they arrive in Charlottesville. 

Students can book in advance to come down on a direct bus service from Dulles. IHP plans to help students with the move in. If your students arrives on this bus, it;s a great time to meet. Students who do not book this service make their own arrangements to get to Charlottesville. Graduate students arrive on their own schedule.

Do Community Hosts provide housing?

No, students find their own housing.

Who participates in the Community Host Program?

Families and individuals who have a sincere interest in cultural exchange through welcoming new international students, learning about their culture and values, and sharing American culture are encouraged to participate.

What are the membership requirements?

  • New hosts complete the IHP Profile Form and attend an orientation;
  • All hosts attend a matching forum annually to share what you have learned, learn new ideas from other hosts and important updates about the program and upcoming activities, and get matched with a new student; and
  • All hosts maintain personal automobile liability insurance on all owned or leased vehicles with a limit of coverage not less than $300,000 per accident and homeowners or comparable coverage (e.g., renters insurance) that includes personal liability coverage with a limit of not less than $300,000 per occurrence.

Why must hosts maintain this level of auto and home insurance?

While hosting a student does not pose additional risk compared with any other passenger in your automobile or guest in your home, adequate insurance is needed to protect against the common risks of everyday life. Our risk management advisors recommend that this typical minimum level of coverage is necessary to pay you and your student for medical and related expenses caused by injuries regardless of fault. 

What insurance coverage do students have?

 All students - undergraduate, graduate, and international - must have health insurance according to a resolution adopted by the University Board of Visitors in 1967 and reaffirmed in 1989.

Why does the IHP ask if any member of a household has been convicted of a felony?

This is one aspect of the IHP's practice of due diligence as recommended by our risk management advisors.

What is required to be a good Community Host?

  • Write a friendly, get-acquainted email to the student in his/her home country as soon as you receive the name and address, introducing yourself and family and indicating what kind of help you can offer upon arrival.
  • Meet the student on arrival, or as soon thereafter as possible.
  • Include the student in family events, especially at holidays and school breaks.
  • Occasional advice and/or assistance with transportation can often be helpful.
  • Introduce your student to area stores, banks, and other local businesses.
  • Invite the student to your home; include him/her in informal family events from time to time.
  • Encourage the student to tell your family about life in his or her homeland, to share as much as is comfortable of one another's culture.

How long do Community Hosts keep in touch with their students?

Community Hosts need to keep in touch with their students during the critical first year. Being in this program is a rewarding experience for all concerned and sometimes friendships are formed that last for years.

Scholars Welcome Network

Who are the Visiting Scholars?

Visiting scholars are generally well-established academics and professionals who come to the University for a short time. Scholars include visiting faculty, temporary researchers, and observers who arive at the University throughout the year. They come from all over the world and are invited by departments throughout the University. Many are visiting the United States for the first time, and some may be accompanied by family.

When do scholars arrive?

Scholars can arrive in Charlottesville at any time of year.

Who can host a scholar?

Families and individuals who have an interest in welcoming new international scholars while sharing American culture and learning about other cultures are encouraged to participate.

How do you begin?

  • Submit the online IHP Membership Form and tell us that you would like to host a visiting faculty member or researcher.
  • Complete an interview with a board member who will contact you about your application.
  • We will call you when we hear from a scholar who is looking for a host. Scholars arrive and request hosts at varying times throughout the year.

What is expected of Hosts to offer a Visiting Scholar?

  • It is important that you contact the Visiting Scholar as soon as you receive his or her name and arrange for a meeting at a mutually convenient time.
  • An invitation to dinner or a holiday meal, a barbecue, a picnic, or other common American activity from time to time is welcomed.
  • A scholar may appreciate seeing local attractions and sites.
  • Attending IHP activities and International Center events with a scholar when time and interest permit is a great way to share cultures.
  • Host any number of scholars throughout the year.

What is required?

  • Apply for IHP Membership.
  • Attend an annual IHP Host Forum to stay current with IHP program opportunities and to meet other host members.

Is lodging required of Hosts?

No, visitors make their own housing arrangements.

How do I apply for IHP Membership in order to host a scholar?

To apply for membership, submit an online IHP Membership Form.

Once we receive your application, you will be contacted by an IHP Board member to discuss the program.

What resources are available to community hosts, international students and scholars at the University?

International Student & Scholar Programs (ISSP), 982-3010.  Questions concerning insurance, loans, and employment should be referred to the ISSP office.

The Lorna Sundberg International Center (IC), 21 University Circle, 924-7983. The IC provides a variety of intercultural activities, social events and classes.

Our Core Values

Cross-cultural understanding: The Community Host Program matches international students at the University of Virginia with members of the Charlottesville community solely for the purpose of developing cross-cultural exchange.

Cross-cultural appreciation: Hosts respect the culture, religion, beliefs, and customs of their student match(es) and do not recruit for religious, political, or other groups.

Cross-cultural friendship: Hosts build international friendships by contacting and welcoming the student(s) they are matched with shortly after receiving their contact information and keeping in touch via phone and email and meeting throughout their first year at UVa.

Apply Now!