The international host program of OIS intends to provide “homes” for international students who are far away from their own families. This is especially essential during the holidays, when it’s much easier for native students to go back home.
On the day when the hosts and the students met, I was nervous and afraid that I might feel awkward and uneasy having dinner with someone that I’ve never met before. Surprisingly, as I sit down with my hosts, Elizabeth and Louisa, I felt relaxed and started to talk about my first week at Vassar.
Our connection didn’t end after the dinner arranged by OIS. We keep in touch and spend a lot of fun times together. On Family Weekend, the family took me to the Storm King Art Center, a sculpture park. After a few weeks, my roommate and I were invited to a family dinner, during which we talked about different cultures, politics, fun places to go in Poughkeepsie, musicals……It was as if we were really a family and I could share anything that came to mind. That has been one of my favorite night of my time at Vassar. During my mid-terms season, Elizabeth made me banana bread so that “I can have more energy fighting the mid-terms”. Before the winter holiday, Elizabeth invited me to help decorate the Christmas tree in her home. We had breakfast together that morning (delicious bacon and pancake!) and started putting ornaments on the tree. She told me the story of each ornament: some were pictures of her two daughters, some they bought for the couple’s anniversary, some were just random pretty ornaments bought from Disneyland.
Whenever I visit Elizabeth’s house, I feel so welcomed that I no longer feel the stress and anxiety I feel at Vassar. I know I still have a lot to explore and experience at Vassar, but the International Host Program and my time spent with Elizabeth’s family will always be one of the sweetest and warmest memories of college.