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International Student FAQ

What is Thanksgiving?

Click here for more information on the American holiday.

Who can participate in the Holiday Host Program?

Any current ONU international student who would like to be invited to a Thanksgiving meal and celebration is welcome to request a Thanksgiving holiday host. The same is true of the Winter Break session; you would be invited to whatever activities a family is doing during that break.  We  also are including Dimension Award scholars this year. Signing up does not guarantee that you will be connected with a local host/host family to celebrate Thanksgiving or Winter Break. Arrangements are made a on a first-come, first-served basis.

How are Thanksgiving and Winter Break holiday student guests matched with hosts?

Students and hosts are matched on a rolling first-come, first-served basis. Matches are based on the information provided on the student and host sign-up forms.

How will I know if I am matched with a Thanksgiving holiday host this Thanksgiving or a Winter Break holiday host this Winter Break?

After submitting the online application form, if you are matched with a host, you will receive notification via email as soon as we have a host family for you. International Services will notify you in plenty of time so that you can begin making arrangements with your host. Please know that submitting the sign-up form does not guarantee a holiday host. Matches are made depending on how many participants (students and hosts) sign up each year.  The sign-up deadline is December 15, 2017 for Winter Break.

What is the commitment as a holiday host student guest?

The commitment is for the break and specific events only. Hosts are not expected to continue hosting you throughout the remainder of the year.  However, it is our hope that both you and your holiday host will continue to stay in contact. 

What are the expectations of a holiday host student guest?

By signing up for the program, International Services asks you to be sure to attend the holiday event to which your host has so graciously invited you. The coordinator matches students with the families; if you have a friend that would like to join you, please let the coordinator and your host family know. It is expected that student guests contact their host via email or telephone to make plans and arrangements for the event and make every effort to attend, as the families have made arrangements for you to join their home for that time period. If you cannot attend, please let the host family know with at least 2 days notice. If an emergency does come up, please let the host family know right away that you will not be able to attend. 

Holiday events occur at various times depending on the host’s plans. Hosts are not expected to provide overnight housing to you. 

International Services is not responsible for assisting with making plans and arrangements between student guests and hosts and is not available to provide transportation for student guests.

Should I bring anything to the holiday event?

It is tradition to bring a small gift as a token of your appreciation to your holiday host, such as flowers, wine, chocolates or a small souvenir from your home country. It is not a requirement though!

Will my holiday host provide housing for me overnight?

No, hosts are not expected to provide overnight housing for student guests. However, if your host invites you to stay overnight and you feel comfortable doing so, you may.

I do not have a mode of transportation to my holiday host’s house but would still like to be hosted. Is this possible?

Yes. While not required, many hosts offer to provide transportation for their student guest(s) to and from their event. For student guests who do not have a mode of transportation to the event, International Services will do its best to match them with hosts who can provide transportation. Other options include carpooling with other guests, getting a cab or a Lyft.

When does the Holiday Host Program take place?

This year, the Thanksgiving holiday is on Nov. 23, 2017, but the date and time of the host's holiday celebration can be flexible. The event does not have to be on the day of the holiday. For example, instead of Thursday, Nov. 23, a holiday host may invite students to join his/her family's Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, Nov. 25, or on Wednesday, Nov. 22, for a game or shopping.

Winter Break Host runs from December 16, 2017 to January 14, 2018.  That is a lot of flexiblity in order to find the right time this Winter Break.

I made plans to travel over break. Can I still participate in this program?

Yes, you may still participate. If you will be at ONU at any time during the break (Nov. 18-26 or Dec. 16-Jan. 14), you can arrange with your family to meet on a day that you will be on campus. If you will be gone the entire break, then you will not be able to participate in the program.

Does it cost any money for me to participate?

No, this program is completely voluntary for the families, and they are opening their homes to you out of the goodness of their hearts.

Can I go with another international student, or do I have to go by myself? 

If you would like to go with another student, you can! You do not have to go by yourself. Just be sure to mention this in the "Additional Comments" box on your application.

If your question wasn't answered, contact Omega Hollies, ONU's international services coordinator, at or 419-772-1966.

[FAQ borrowed from UC San Diego's Holiday Host Program]