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Host Testimonial

"I have thoroughly enjoyed being an Open Doors Host. She [student] has become part of my family. We have shared many great experiences and will continue to do so." - Host

"I interacted with my student constantly, went to dinner with him, was in a club with him and texted him to check in. I loved being a part of the host program." - Host

"Mostly it has been wonderful to just be there for her to answer questions about life, classes, dreams, etc. I would highly recommend this opportunity to others  as a way to expand your own experience here, but also to provide support to international students. Open Doors is one way that Brandeis is building a stronger community of neighbors, one where every student feels that they have someone to turn to!" - Host

Student Information

Info for First-Year Students

Open Doors Info for Hosts

During their first semester at Brandeis, international students are not only adjusting to new classes and friends, but a new culture too. This is where the Open Doors Hosts come in. The students will greatly benefit from your experience with New England weather, how to dress for it, shopping for essentials, finding local entertainment, and anything else related to life around Boston. In return, you'll get to know amazing students from all over the world that could turn into lifelong friendships!

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What is the Open Doors Host Program?
The Open Doors Host Program matches participating incoming international undergraduate students with a family or individual in the local community, or a current Brandeis student who serves as a "host" for the first semester that the student is at Brandeis. It is our hope that you will enjoy your relationship with your student so much that you will continue to stay in contact after their first semester.
Who are the Participants?

Hosts are members of the Brandeis community: upperclassman students, staff, or faculty. The majority of Open Doors hosts have lived in the Brandeis area for at least a year, and are an excellent source of information when making preparations for life at Brandeis. Hosts have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to New England weather, how to dress for it, shopping, entertainment, and anything else related to life around Boston. Open Doors hosts are more than sources of information though. They offer a great opportunity for students to gain insight into U.S. culture.

Students are Brandeis international first-years, coming from a wide range of countries. A first-year could be a transfer student, a student who has participated in the Gateway ESL program at Brandeis, or a brand new student. In the case of transfer students or Gateway students, they have been in the U.S. longer than a brand new student. However, what they all have in common is that it will be their first year in the Brandeis undergraduate program.

Host Expectations
  • After your student receives your name and email over the summer, they will email you. Please make sure you are in contact before the semester begins.
  • The commitment is for the student's first semester at Brandeis, but it is our hope that you will continue to stay in contact with each other.
  • Orientation is required for all new hosts, so please make every effort to attend. Following Orientation is the Welcome Dinner, where your student will be expecting to meet you. If you are unable to attend, communicate with your student to arrange an alternate time to meet or email the ISSO ( if you need help.
  • In order to get the most out of the experience, participants advise inviting one another to get together twice (or more) per semester. As students get busy with their studies and other activities, you may need to be pro-active in initiating getting together. Enjoy getting to know your student!

As hosts, please remember that you are volunteers. Although you may generously decide to do so, you are not expected to provide housing for your student, pick your student up at the airport, drive them around, or invite them home for the holidays. In addition, the program is not meant to be:

  • A time for you to proselytize with the intent to convert. If you have any questions about what is or is not acceptable, please contact us at
  • An advising service. Note that you are not expected to function as academic advisors or counselors. Again, if your students have questions that you cannot answer, please refer them to the ISSO at
Host FAQs
How are matches made?
  • Matches are made based on the sign-up forms on this website and are made on a first-come, first-serve basis. You will be asked if you have any student considerations, but we cannot guarantee they will be met. We try to match up students and hosts with common interests based on the information provided in the questionnaires, but we ask that you keep an open mind about who they are. As a host, you will receive information about your student during the summer, and your student should contact you via email. While not required, many hosts offer to meet their students at the airport when they first arrive in the summer.
Will it cost me money to be a host?
  • You have no financial obligation whatsoever to your student. All that is asked of the host is your time and your interest in helping a Brandeis international student feel welcome and supported during their first semester at Brandeis. However, since students have different financial situations, you cannot assume that your student has plenty of pocket money to pay for dinners out or events. If you invite your student out for an event that costs money, we suggest that you either pay for them or ask if they are interested in the event and can afford it. 
Am I expected to drive my student around or invite them home for the holidays?
  • No, but you may generously offer to do so if you are interested. Open Doors is not a homestay program. Rather, it is an opportunity to gain insight into another culture and to build a friendship
What types of activities do participants do together?
  • Popular activities include cooking together, shopping, meeting at a cafe, or sightseeing in Boston. Alternatively, there is always a lot going on at Brandeis, so you can attend on campus events together as well.
What happens if the host/student relationship is not working well?
  • Sometimes students arrive at Brandeis and find themselves very busy with classes, settling in, and making friends on campus. If your student makes no effort to be in touch, or if the match does not work well, please contact the Open Doors Coordinator via email or by phone at 781-736-3480. ISSO will see if the situation can be resolved, or if necessary, can arrange an alternative match.