Claudia Hamann: Germany:
During my stay at ETSU I joined the International Host Program and the Buccaneer Buddy Program. Both decisions turned out to be very important for my time abroad. When leaving your home for a long time and going to a place you don’t know, you are very excited. But you are also doubtful because it means changing your whole life. It is so helpful to have the certainty that there is someone on the other side of the world waiting for you. I can assure you that there will be at least one situation where you have no idea what you are doing and will really appreciate having someone beside you to help you.
After missing a flight and travelling for 25 hours, I arrived in the middle of the night and was so glad to see a friendly face smiling at me. I had a place to sleep for the first days and someone who helped me to move to my new home, which was particularly important because the public transport in the US is not like we know it from Europe. But what is the best of all is that I feel like I have a second family abroad and people I can come to if I feel lost. I felt so comfortable during my first days with them and I am so happy that I have met my lovely host family. We are still in contact, although I do not live there anymore.
Dileepkumar Maddala: India
I was very happy when I got my admission confirmation from ETSU, but later I started to worry because I didn’t know anyone from Johnson City. I received a brochure about IBB & IFP along with my I20 and then I wrote an email to register for both the programs. After few days I got an email from my host family (Sumit and Julia) and then all my worries were gone. They picked me from the airport, took me out to their friend’s place for a dinner party and helped me to move into my apartment. They helped with the process of opening a bank account, initial shopping, and getting a sim card. I cannot forget their help during my initial days at ETSU.
Yu Terai: Japan
Your host will be your family in the U.S.! Before I came here, I had not lived alone or studied abroad, so I was very nervous about my life in Tennessee. However, I found that I don’t have to be worried about anything; Katie and her family helped me with everything I needed to do. She picked me up at the airport although my flight was late at night. On the way to her home, she took good care of me and talked kindly to me even though I didn’t have good English skills. After we arrived at her house, I could be relaxed and forgot that I was anxious about everything. The next day she helped me to buy some stuff for school and to complete the entrance procedure, which was so helpful for me when I did not know what I should do.
Also, they support me and treat me as a family during this semester. They sometimes invite me to their house and I spend precious time with them. I am always looking forward to talking with them because through our conversations I can know them more and their culture. They are so respectful to foreign culture, so it is definitely enjoyable to talk with them and share cultural experiences. Moreover, they care about my life and school here very often, and listen to my worries very kindly. I am so happy that I have someone always to stand by me and support me.
Mutong Yang: China
I applied for the IFP Host Program before I came to ETSU, and I have to say that it was a wise decision, I am glad I did it! I can’t deny I felt nervous after I arrived at the airport, because I knew my life was going to be different compared with my life in China. But at the moment I met my host family, I felt relieved that I’m not alone anymore, I have an “American family”! Having a host family made my arrival easier and more convenient, and it also gave me an opportunity to experience a real American life and gain a friendship as well. My host family not only picked me up at the airport, took me for shopping, but also gave me a lot of tips about ETSU. We chatted together during dinner time and I learned more about American culture.
Since it took me a few days to get used to the American time zone, my host family adjusted their daily schedule. What’s more, they told me to stay as long as I want, I felt really moved. Also, they invited me over for Christmas dinner, I really had a feast that day! This was the first time I celebrated Christmas, because we don’t celebrate this festival in China, and I really was instilled with the Christmas atmosphere. When it was about time to move to my dorm on campus, my host gave me many things, like pillows, pots, bedspread etc. and they helped me carry my luggage to my dorm. We still keep in touch now and I have to say I’m so lucky to have such a warm-hearted and kind host family! I really had a wonderful time with my host family!