Carnegie Mellon University

Host Family Program for International Students

The Host Family Program for International Students is part of a university-wide strategic goal to enhance the CMU student experience, by facilitating greater engagement between students and CMU faculty, staff, alumni, and local families.

The program provides informal opportunities for international undergraduate and graduate students (ages 18 and older) to connect with volunteer hosts in the Pittsburgh community, agreeing to get together once a month or so. Students and hosts build relationships that best fit their needs, meeting at mutually convenient times. Please note that this is not a homestay program.

Single individuals, married couples, and families with children are encouraged to participate as hosts.

The program gives international students the opportunity to explore Pittsburgh with their hosts, engage in meaningful dialogue, practice their English, and generally enjoy a connection to the city that they might not otherwise experience.

It is important to note that hosts are NOT responsible for handling the following issues:

  • Immigration regulations, visas, or work permits
  • Bill payment or financial aid
  • Academic counseling, class attendance, or tutoring
  • Health or healthcare
  • Class registration

Hosts should refer students to the appropriate CMU offices who will be happy to help them with such issues. This guide provides helpful links to campus resources.

  • Interested CMU students and hosts – drawn from CMU alumni, faculty and staff, and local families  – submit the applications and sign the release forms. Links to the applications and release forms may be found below.
  • Students will be matched with families who will provide informal social exchange opportunities and activities. These may include museum visits, shopping excursions, and dinners at home, throughout the academic year. 
  • One way that families can connect with their busy students is to provide "care packages" of snacks, toiletries and school supplies during final exams.
  • Once notified of a match, families and students will establish contact with each other and arrange to meet. For activities, the host will provide transportation for the student to and from campus or the immediate surrounding area.
  • Families hosting more than one student might find it difficult to coordinate times for everyone to get together. The best strategy is to be flexible with your availability. It's fine to meet up with students separately. Due to students' busy schedules, it is often effective to offer several options of dates and times to get together.
  • The duration of the volunteer cycle is one academic year. The host and student may choose to extend the relationship beyond that academic year (i.e., until the student graduates, or for another academic year).
  • The number of students who can be matched depends on the number of hosts who volunteer. If there are more students than there are hosts, then students will be selected through a lottery system.

International students matched with local hosts will be given the opportunity to:

  • Improve their English-language skills by speaking with people outside of the classroom
  • Enhance their sense of community at Carnegie Mellon University
  • Learn about local culture and traditions
  • Build personal relationships with families in the community
  • Foster a stronger connection with Pittsburgh by exploring the city beyond the campus

 Host Families will be given the opportunity to: 

  • Meet new people and build relationships with students
  • Enhance personal connections within and beyond Carnegie Mellon University
  • Gain a new perspective about the world
  • Explore aspects of their own community in new ways
  • Be Pittsburgh ambassadors

If you would like to be matched with a local family, please take a few moments to complete the following application process. We urge you to provide us with details that will let us know about your interests and the type of family with whom you feel would be most compatible. We ask you to be flexible with your expectations as we seek the best match for you. Please note that the number of students who can be matched will depend on the number of hosts who volunteer.

Please submit the following:

  1. Questionnaire. You may complete the Google form questionnaire or the PDF and email it to hostfamily@andrew.cmu.edu.
  2. Student Participant Release. You may complete the release (PDF) and electronically sign it; or print, sign and scan the form and then email it to hostfamily@andrew.cmu.edu.

You may also drop your documents off at the Office of International Education, Posner Hall, 1st Floor. Once we receive your questionnaire and release, we will be in touch when we find a family match for you.

If you would like to be matched with a Carnegie Mellon University student, please take a few moments to complete the following application process. We urge you to provide us with details that will let us know about your interests and the type of student with whom you feel would be most compatible. We ask you to be flexible with your expectations as we seek the best match for you. 

Please submit the following:

  1. Questionnaire. You may complete the Google form questionnaire or the PDF and email it to hostfamily@andrew.cmu.edu.
  2. Host Release. You may complete the release (PDF) and electronically sign it; or print, sign and scan the form and then email it to hostfamily@andrew.cmu.edu.

You may also drop your documents off at the Office of International Education, Posner Hall, 1st Floor. Once we receive your questionnaire and release, we will be in touch to inform you of your student match.