Middlebury, Vermont—On October 15, the Friends of International Students (FIS) Host Program marked its 10th anniversary and kicked off the next decade of the program with a celebration event at McCullough Social Space.
The anniversary celebration was attended by around 140 members of the FIS Host Program community. Guests included current and past hosts and their families, current students, and staff members from International Student and Scholar Services at Middlebury College, which coordinates the FIS Host Program.
Kathy Foley-Giorgio, Associate Dean and Director of International Student and Scholar Services at Middlebury College, welcomed students, hosts and their families to the event. She credited the students’ and hosts’ support for the program’s enduring success. She also shared the words of international alumni celebrating the meaningful, life-long friendships that they developed through the FIS Host Program.
Lyn DeGraff, long-time host and Graphic Designer at Middlebury College, reflected on her family’s experience as hosts to a number of international students throughout the history of the program. She described the many ways her children’s lives were influenced by Middlebury’s international students, and how those experiences have shaped the paths her children have followed. In addition, current Middlebury students Yun-an (Jen) Liu ’12 and Hai Do ’14, spoke about their FIS hosts and the friendships that have been forged through their involvement in the FIS Host Program.
Each year, during Fall Family Weekend, International Student and Scholar Services at Middlebury College matches more than 50 international students with local hosts in this friendship program. The idea for a host program came out of the international students’ desire to have more connections with people in the local community. The FIS host community is made up of Middlebury College staff, faculty, and alumni as well as other members of the local Vermont community. Established in 2001, the FIS Host Program has initiated more than 550 friendships with international students and families from the local community.