Golden Bear Family Network connecting international students to local families

Beckley, W. Va. – WVU Tech is launching a new initiative for international students to connect with the local community. The Golden Bear Family Network is a visitation program focused on outreach and support for its international students.

Dan Sepion, Associate Dean of Students, says the program aims to foster cross-cultural exchanges and create opportunities for students to connect with the community.

“Our international student population continues to grow at Tech, and we are excited to introduce the Global Bear program to our community. This program is a win-win. Our international students can learn more about our community while providing local families a chance to learn about our students and their home countries and cultures,” says Sepion.

The Golden Bear Family Network is not a homestay or live-in program, nor are host families financially responsible for the student. The program asks that families communicate at least monthly with their students, and invite them to join them in community activities, family dinners or traditions, or outdoor recreation opportunities. Participating students are encouraged to share their culture and be open to new experiences with their host families.

Host families will be paired with two to three students. The program is designed for the host family to commit to hosting the student during their entire duration at Tech. Anyone in the Beckley region, including alumni, families with children, young adults, and retirees can apply to host a student. 

To learn more about the Golden Bear Family Network program or apply to be a host family, go to

Questions can be directed to Dan Sepion at 304-929-1238 or email