College of the Atlantic’s Community Connections Program (CCP) is looking for local families who are interested in establishing ties with the college’s international students. CCP is a voluntary program that pairs students with local families to help engage in communal activities on an informal basis. CCP is not a host-family program in the sense that students actually live with local families, but rather a friendship program that encourages the development of a more global perspective for both the students and families through cultural exchange.

Current families involved in the program have volunteered for many different reasons, including: some want to get to know more about a country’s cultures; others have gone abroad in the past and are looking to give back; some like for their young children to be exposed to different languages or cultural ways of being.

International students choose to participate in CCP in order to establish meaningful relationships outside the college environment. Given the mission of the college, it’s especially important for international students to become better acquainted with the local culture, and to find a source of support for getting around in their new environment. The college greatly values this program as many international students and families have bonded throughout the years – in some cases remaining in contact even after the student graduates. This year there are 17 new international students from all over the world attending COA.

“I truly couldn’t ask for more from COA’s Community Connections Program,” said Surya Karki ’16, from Nepal. “Being thousands of miles away from home and having a local family to spend time with has made a huge difference in adjusting to life in Bar Harbor. I spend time with them regularly, play with the dog, try to be friends with the awesome cat, take a walk on a snowy night, have a conversation about politics and culture over dinner, try talking them into coming to Nepal, and tell them about my life. It’s been comforting.”

Interested in volunteering? Information about the program, including an application, can be found online: The submission deadline for participating in the spring program is February 28th, 2014.

After families and students are paired up there will be an event for participants to get to know one other. In the past, activities have included hiking in Acadia National Park, potluck dinners, and game nights. Volunteer families will receive a formal invitation with more details.

For more information about the program, please contact The Coordinator of International Student Services at COA, Monica Hamm, at or call 207-801-5673.

Learn more about the program on WDEA AM1370The Maine EdgeBangor Daily News, and WABI TV5.

About College of the Atlantic
College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world. For more information, visit