Home Stay Experience Information

Saturday, July 11th – Sunday, July 12th

About the Women’s Leadership Institute:

The Kansas Women’s Leadership Institute is one of the U.S. Department of State’s Study of US Institute’s (SUSI) programs on Women’s Leadership. SUSI programs for student leaders are five-week academic programs for foreign undergraduate leaders sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. 

Hosted by U.S. academic institutions throughout the United States, all institutes include an intensive academic component, an educational tour of other regions of the country, local community service activities, leadership skill building, and a unique opportunity for participants to get to know their American peers.

The first SUSI Women’s Leadership Institute was hosted by the University of Kansas in 2010, and included women from the countries of Egypt and Morocco. This year we are expecting 20 young women from Afghanistan, India, Mongolia, Morocco, Pakistan, and Zambia. Six young women from across Kansas will participate as well.

At the core of our program, we are dedicated to providing a transformative experience that develops leadership competencies, cultivates a spirit of collaboration, and elevates the power of women’s voices.

You can learn more about our program by visiting our website: http://www.kwli.org.

About the Home Stay Experience:

You will pick the student up at the dorm on Saturday morning and drop her off on Sunday afternoon. What you do with the time in between is up to you!

The women are generally interested in what life is like in the “typical” American family. For many of the women this weekend becomes somewhat of an “ah-ha moment” as stereotypes about Americans are broken. While they’re with you, you may choose to go about your normal weekend (ex. grocery store, soccer practice, etc.). You may also want to take them to see a movie, to visit a museum, or expose them to the plethora of other interesting experiences in and around Lawrence.

The women are also excited to share their lives in their home country with you, so please don’t be shy in asking them questions! The students from previous exchanges have expressed to us that this home stay experience is the highlight of their participation in cultural exchange, and they often become very close to the family they stayed with, communicating long after they return home. 

Requirements: We ask that each woman have her own bed, although her own room is not required. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Do the women speak English? Yes, the women all speak excellent English. In fact most of them speak at least three languages fluently and some as many as five or six.
  • How should I greet the women? Regardless how your guest physically interacts with women in the household (hug, handshake, etc.), some guests may not be comfortable with more than a handshake with a man due to cultural norms, or perhaps no contact at all. In greeting, men and women alike should allow guests to initiate physical greetings.
  • Can my husband be left alone with our guest? Out of respect for the Muslim culture, men should not be left alone with a Muslim woman. This includes driving your guest to or from the Lawrence campus.
  • Are there any dietary restrictions? Many of our women have no dietary restrictions while other women are vegetarian, eat only halal meat (Halal is the word used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law, and is available at Hy-Vee and the Mediterranean market.), or eat meat with the exception of pork. We will let you know ahead of time what their preference is for food. Additionally, consuming alcohol is prohibited in the program.
  • What if I have cats or dogs? Most of the women love animals and treasure meeting and spending time with your four legged friends. We do have a few women who have allergies, but we will make sure they are assigned to families who do not have pets.
  • What religion do the women practice? Please know that your student may or may not be religious, and if they are, they could be Muslim, Jewish, or Christian. Some students may be following traditional daily prayers of the Islamic faith, so we thought you might like to know more about those prayers.

Throughout the day, Muslims must perform the Salah, or formal prayers. That means at five regimented times a day followers must face Mecca and pray to Allah. Each daily prayer must be according to strict guidelines. The Salah is considered one of the important aspects of Islamic worship.

Five Obligatory Prayers

  1. Dawn prayer
  2. Noon prayer
  3. Mid-afternoon prayer
  4. Sunset prayer
  5. Nightfall prayer

The student will be in charge of this practice, if she is observing prayers. We ask that you grant her privacy if she asks to be excused or indicates she wishes to pray.

  • Can I still go to church on Sunday? Many of the women are curious about Christian or other religious services. If you plan to attend a service while your guest is with you, it will be appropriate to ask your guest if she would like to attend with you, but it should not be expected. Know too, that she may have many questions about your religion. If your student is not interested in attending church with you on Sunday morning, please ask if she would like to return to the residence hall or stay at your home.
  • What if there are any issues? Both you and the women will have our cell phone numbers and should not hesitate to call us at any time day or night should a problem arise.

We are so grateful for your willingness to showcase the U.S. and Kansas and welcome these students into your homes! Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any additional questions.

Abbie Hodgson

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