Now Taking Applications
FIS is a non-residential program that facilitates student/community host friendships across culture, across generations, and across communities (on and off campus). We match new international students with a local host (families and individuals).
Hosts help support students in their transition to Grinnell, Iowa, USA, and help to introduce them to our vibrant local community.
Students benefit from the local connection and help to introduce their country and culture to people who live in Iowa.
FIS offers an exciting opportunity for mutual friendship and cultural exchange. The FIS relationship is intended for the first year. Some relationships continue, but this is a perk, not an expectation.
FIS welcomes hosts, including families and individuals, who range in lifestyle and stage of life. We encourage you to participate in FIS regardless of your life stage and family composition. There are nearly 150 local hosts involved!
Students whose home address is outside of the U.S. are invited to participate in FIS. International students make up 13% of our student body — we enroll about 200 students from 50+ countries.
How It Works
- Hosts and students complete applications to indicate their interest in participating.
- The OISA assigns student/host matches in early August.
- Hosts receive information about their assigned students by mail, and students receive information about their FIS host upon arrival in Grinnell.
- We arrange your initial opportunity to meet — over dessert during the International Pre-Orientation Program (IPOP). We offer hosts a brief orientation and a FIS Host Handbook with tips and guidelines for participation.
- Next, students and hosts initiate contact and extend invitations to get together!
- Community Hosts often invite students to visit their homes and to explore the local area.
- Students often invite hosts to campus activities and may consider their host family as a resource for their adjustment to life in the U.S.
We ask FIS participants to initiate two or three activities per semester (some do more, some do less). While in-person contact is preferred, phone and email are also great ways to stay connected. The OISA also organizes occasional programs and events and sends brief emails/announcements and a copy of our magazine, MOSAIC.