The concept of matching incoming students from India to a host family in USA in City/State where the student is studying was started by KOJAIN leader Dami Rambhia in 1990’s. Since then, a number of students have come to USA and have been beneficiaries of this program. Last 10 years have revolutionized the communication and technology has brought us all together.
Dami uncle’s tremendous work has given the KOJAIN host family a new dimension and a perfect way to help incoming students to Northern America. After Dami uncle’s retirement the baton has now been passed on the new team led by Sachin Visaria along with Piyush Vora and Pallavi Dedhia.
The needs of students coming from India have also evolved as they have access to a lot more information when they start researching the University, the City/State where they plan to come. But they still need lot more help/guidance as to how things work in this country.
The Role of the Host (Local Point of Contact) has also evolved over the years. We envision that the role of such host would encompass the following:
- Be available to answer any questions pertaining to the local area (prior to the arrival of the student and during the initial one or two weeks when the student gets settled). Could be on phone or in person depending on the circumstances
- Help connect the student with the Jain center or local Jain/Cultural activities and groups. Help out during Paryushan to the extent possible – provide information about Pratikaman, and Jain food availability if provided by Jain groups (for example: New York City used to have arrangements for working professionals to get Jain Dinner in New York during Paryushan)
- Inquire with the student if there are any questions that can be answered by the host and check in with them during the first few weeks
- If possible, offer to assist with the arrival (pick up from the airport, initial day or two of accommodation). To large extent, the Universities have students who pick up the incoming students from the airport and arrange for accommodation
- Be a point of contact, to check in with the student, if there is a local emergency situation (events that are unforeseen)
- Answer inquiries about safety precautions and crime situations in the city/town to the extent known. Most Universities have Campus Patrol and Security arrangements. However, many students may have never been to the US and may not be familiar with and may be concerned
- Questions about local banks/telephone service providers – Again most Universities address these things during orientation and the student community usually is good with providing such information
- Questions about accommodation – similar to above, Universities provide a lot of information in this regard
- Agree to be a point of contact, if the incoming student has other questions and work with the KOJAIN Student Host Point of Contact program for further assistance.
How to get connected with the KOJAIN host family program
- Students: If you are a parent or a student who is coming to the US we request you to get connected with the KOJAIN host family program by sending an email to email@example.com with details of which city/state you are coming and also the name of the University.
- Become a host family: If you live in North America and are willing to help the incoming students then we request you also send an email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details.