Enjoying new friendships in Ephrata

Ephrata, PA


Come to south central PA and experience a genuine American Christmas! Our home stay program introduces you to an American family who will include you in their Christmas and holiday traditions. Each of our host families will extend to you a warm welcome and will invite you to join activities like family dinners, cooking and baking traditional food, giving and receiving Christmas presents and attending Christian church services. Because each family is different it is impossible to guarantee exactly which activities will happen, but by the end of your home stay, we hope you will feel that you are part of your new American family. 


One of our program activities is an International Dinner, a wonderful time to get to know your fellow students and other host families. Plan to cook a food from your cultural tradition and host families will cook an American food. When we bring our foods together, all will have the opportunity to taste the wonderful flavors of new foods and old favorites. 


Here's some more things you're probably wondering about:

Lancaster weather is usually very cold in the winter, (-3 degrees C to 7 degrees C or 25 - 45 degrees Fahrenheit). We could have snow and cold winds – so you will need walking shoes and warm clothing, including a coat, hat, scarf and mittens/gloves. 


Most students arrive in Lancaster by air (Lancaster Airport code: LNS) by train (Amtrak) or bus (Greyhound or Trailways). Air travel can also be booked to Harrisburg International Airport (code: MDT). 



We receive many requests from students to fly into Philadelphia. The city is too far for host families to pick up students in Philadelphia. Therefore, we recommend that students fly into Harrisburg or Lancaster. If you wish to fly into Philadelphia, please research schedules and compare costs before booking a ticket. If a student chooses to fly into Philadelphia, she will need to take a local train (SEPTA) to the downtown station and transfer to a commuter train (Amtrak) to Lancaster where her host family can meet her. 



Your host family does not receive any compensation for hosting you. They host you because they love students! Meals in your host home will be provided. If your host family goes to a restaurant or to an activity where there is an admission fee, please offer to pay for your meal or ticket. It is a gift to your host family. We have ATM's at every major shopping area and local banks. Most students bring $100-$300 in cash and use credit cards for shopping purchases. 


When you come to our program, plan to stay the entire time. In fact, we hope you don't want to leave your new family! Early departures and shortened stays interfere with building a friendship with your host family. If you know you must leave the program early, you must check with program leaders in advance in order to not disappoint your host family.  

Program Size:  5
Program Type:  Home Stay
Accommodations:  Female Students Only
Clothing Suggestions:  Warm clothing, hats, gloves, scarves, etc.
Suggested Cash:  Spending money for souvenirs ($100-$300).
Program Dates:  Dec. 18- Jan. 2
Airport:  Harrisburg (MDT) or Lancaster (LNS) Airports
Train Depot:  AMTRAK - Lancaster
Bus Depot:  Greyhound or Trailways - Lancaster PA
Driving Directions:  Upon request
Weather Forecast:  Cold. -3 to 7 degrees Celsius; 25-45 degrees Fahrenheit
Local Attractions:  Amish and Mennonite people, Hershey Park, Lancaster city, outlet shopping
Program Web Site:  www.cihtown.com