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Open Doors Program Flyer

Student Testimonial

"Thanks to ISSO I have had a wonderful semester at Brandeis. I can always find a familiar smiling face. She is my Open Doors host. She is a caring and loving host. Her welcome reached me long before I arrived in Brandeis. Knowing that someone was there for me really meant a lot to me.

Her commitment to the many activities on campus have encouraged my involvement. Those involvements have truly enriched my college experience. 

I am truly thankful to my host and the Open Doors program. Just as the program's name indicates, it has opened new doors, exposed me to a new culture and provided me with new perspectives. It constantly encouraged me to reach out. It is this encouragement that made it possible for me to become the person I am today.

Thank you." - Student

Host Information

Info for Prospective Hosts

Open Doors Info for Students

To help international students make a smooth transition into life as an undergraduate student at Brandeis, the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) is happy to offer the Open Doors Host Program. The goal of the program is to help international undergraduate students feel welcome and supported as they enter Brandeis University.

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What is the Program?
The Open Doors Host Program matches participating incoming international undergraduate students with a member of the Brandies community who serves as a "host" for the student's first semester at Brandeis. It is our hope that participants will enjoy their relationship with each other so much that they will continue to stay in contact after the first semester.
Who are the Participants?

Hosts are members of the Brandeis community: upperclassman students, alumni, staff, or faculty. The majority of them have lived in the Brandeis area for at least a year, and are an excellent source of information for making preparations for life at Brandeis. Open Doors hosts are more than sources of information though. They offer a great opportunity to gain some insight into the 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. 

Student Expectations
  • After you receive your host's name and email, you should email them. Please make sure you are in contact before the semester begins.
  • You are expected to attend the Open Doors Welcome Dinner in September and are encouraged to attend as many ISSO events throughout the semester as possible.
  • The commitment is at least for your first semester at Brandeis, but it is our hope that you will continue to stay in contact with each other. 
  • In order to get the most out of the experience, we advise participants to invite one another to get together twice (or more) per semester. 
  • Please remember that it is not appropriate to ask your host to provide housing, pick you up from the airport, drive you around, or invite you home for the holidays.  However, your host may generously decide to do so.
Student FAQs

How are matches made?

  • Matches are made based on the sign-up forms on this website. We will do our best to match you with someone who has similar interests, but we also ask that you keep an open mind about who they are. You will receive information about your host during the summer, and will be asked to contact him or her via email. 

Is my host expected to drive me around or invite me home for the holidays?

  • No, but they may generously offer to do so. Participating Open Doors students live in university housing and will be instructed to time their arrival with the opening of the residence halls. Open Doors is not a homestay program. Rather, it is an opportunity to make a friend and to gain insight into U.S. culture and to be introduced to Brandeis and the Waltham/Boston area.

What types of activities do participants do together?

  • Popular activities include cooking together, shopping, going to a cafe, and sightseeing in Boston. There is always a lot going on at Brandeis, so you can attend events on campus together as well. The ISSO also offers some programs and events throughout the semester too.

What happens if the host/student relationship is not working well?

  • After the semester begins, you may find yourself very busy with classes and making friends on campus. If you are unable to keep in touch with your host, or if the match does not work well, please contact Open Doors Host Coordinator via email at or by phone at 781-736-3480. The Coordinator will see if the situation can be resolved, or if necessary, can arrange an alternative match. 
  • Brandeis only acts as a liaison and is not responsible for the conduct of the parties involved.