Green River's Housing Program Shines
A student and her host family celebrate a traditional American birthday with cake, board games, and balloons.
Green River Community College's International Programs Housing program began in 1989 with fifty host families and less than 100 international students. Today, in 2013, the program has grown to 450 active host families and between 1,400 and 1,500 international students.
More often than not, foreign exchange students build lifelong bonds with their host families. Green River embraces the importance of host families in the community. In fact, Green River's standardized policies, procedures, and manual has turned the host family program into a best practices model for other colleges and organizations. Program leaders regularly take calls from other colleges asking for advice and tips.
Cindy Rapier, Green River director of International Housing, notes that the host family program greatly benefits both sides: "The host family provides a soft landing for a student in their new country," giving them a home, helping them set up their banking and cell phone, and providing family-style meals. The student, on the other hand, "internationalizes the host family, bringing a cultural exchange and helping the parents and children develop a global worldview," says Rapier, whose own sons were positively influenced by the presence of international students in their home.
Green River was also one of the first commmuntiy colleges to offer on-campus housing. According to Rapier, "Campus Corner Apartments was driven by a capcity need. It is also attractive for students who want to be close to campus and have a more independent lifestyle."
According to Capstone On-Campus Management, "Green River's housing program is a shining star" when it comes to housing international students.
Learn more about International Programs Housing.