Host a International Seminary Student this Christmas

Warm greetings to you from the Center for Anglican Communion Studies at Virginia Theological Seminary. As you may know, VTS is blessed to have students from a variety of international locations on campus most every year. This year we have nine students from Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Myanmar, and Tanzania. We are blessed by their presence daily.

One of the many ways that our international students share with the surrounding community is through Christmas holiday homestays. As you may remember, VTS dorms are closed every year during the Christmas break and during that time those students who do not have plans to visit family or friends at home or in the U.S. are hosted by local families.

This year the Christmas break at VTS is from Dec. 22, 2015 until January 3, 2016. With this letter we are requesting assistance from local parishes in identifying members who would be interested in hosting a student during this time. This year there are four students interested in homestays: Peter Gachira from Kenya, Ernest Ndahani from Tanzania, Goodwell Timverane from Malawi, and D Mark Togba from Liberia. All are previously ordained and pursuing Master of Arts degrees here at VTS. International student hosts are asked to welcome the students in the same way they would any other visiting friend or family member, including them in social and church activities.

If you could please let us know by November 9 if you are interested in applying for this important ministry, we would be most grateful. With this lead time we would ideally be able to confirm with hosts before the beginning of the Advent season. Attached to this letter are some brief questions that we ask potential hosts to answer as they consider their holiday plans and forward to us with an indication of interest.

Please contact Claire Haymes at and 703-461-1735 with any questions and with your suggestions for possible hosts.

VTS International Student Christmas Homestay Program
We have provided the following questions for hosts’ reflection about the stay and as a guide for us in placing our students. Please reflect on the following questions and submit the information to the Center for Anglican Communion Studies at Virginia Theological Seminary to signal your interest in hosting an international student over the Christmas vacation period.

  • Family name:
  • Names of partners/spouses/family members/friends celebrating Christmas together:
  • What is important to you in your celebration of Christmas?
  • What activities do you have planned for Christmas?
  • What activities do you have planned that would be particularly attractive for international students:?
  • Would you like any assistance from the Center for Anglican Communion Studies (e.g. literature, web resources) on best cross-cultural practices?