A host congregation for

Lancaster County Christmas International House

A Holiday of Friendship with International Students

Program dates:

December 16, 2017 through January 2, 2018

This program is open to females on​ly

Celebrate your holiday with Lancaster County CIH.  We are located in southeastern Pennsylvania, an area that is well known for its Amish community and scenic countryside.


You will stay in the home of a host family and you will participate in all of their activities and traditions as they celebrate the holidays.  You may be able to help bake cookies or decorate the family Christmas tree, or enjoy quiet conversation with your host family.


In addition to time with your host family, several group activities are planned to help you get acquainted with our corner of the world.  One of these activities is an incredible opportunity to learn first-hand about the Amish community by having lunch with an Amish family, visiting a one-room schoolhouse and by taking a horse and buggy ride.


If you are looking for some quiet time away from the stress of college life, if you want to really get to know an American family and have some fun in the process, you will enjoy your time with the members and friends of St. John Center Lutheran Church.  We are eager to share our cold winter weather and our warm hospitality.

​The Application Process

You must complete an application on the national CIH website.  The CIH Office staff will e-mail you when you have been accepted to a program.


If you are accepted to the Lancaster County CIH program, you will receive an e-mail from Deb Lorah. This message will include a Confirmation Form that MUST be completed and returned either by postal mail or return e-mail.

Apply to Attend a CIH Program

Traveling​ to Lancaster County

Please make your travel plans as soon as possible; the holidays are a very busy time for the travel industry and, typically, prices will become more expensive as fewer tickets are available.


Please contact Deb Lorah if you have questions about making travel arrangements. 

Get all the Details on Traveling

to Lancaster County

Planned Activities

We strive to have a good blend of group activities and time to be with your host family and time to relax.


You are not required to attend all group activities if there is something that you do not want to do, but group activities are a great way to get to know the other CIH guests.

See our Planned Activities

Weather

The weather in Lancaster County can vary greatly in December.  It is always best to plan on tempera-tures at or below the freezing point.  Usually it is too early in the winter season for snow, but we always hope for a "white Christmas."


Dressing in layers is a good way to stay warm outdoors and comfortable indoors.

Get the 10-Day Weather Forecast

Click this text to start editing. This simple title and text block is great for welcome or explanatory text. When writing, try to keep things down to a few lines at a time. Break up your content into different blocks to keep your page interesting.

Click this text to start editing. This simple title and text block is great for welcome or explanatory text. When writing, try to keep things down to a few lines at a time. Break up your content into different blocks to keep your page interesting.

What to Bring

  • Outdoor clothing - Winter coat, hat, scarf, gloves/mittens, boots (if you have them) - it can get cold here!

  • Jeans and other casual clothes are appropriate for all of our activities. Dressing in layers is a good way to stay warm outdoors and comfortable indoors.

  • Comfortable shoes for walking 

  • Student ID with photograph

  • Camera!!

  • Recipe for favorite food for International Night

  • Any traditional clothing to wear for International Night

  • Thank You gift for your host family (can be something that represents your home country or your college)

Learn More

Visits to New York City 

or other nearby cities

Our program will include trips to Philadelphia and Washington DC, but not to New York City.   In addition, your host family may plan trips in which you are welcome to participate.  All of theses trips are covered by our insurance.


If you want to visit New York City, or any other city while you are in the mid-Atlantic region, you are asked to do so either BEFORE or AFTER your stay here in Lancaster County.


For insurance liability reasons, you may be asked to leave our program, at your expense, if you plan personal visits to other cities DURING the dates of our program.

Learn More

Diversity

Because we accept a limited number of students, we cannot guarantee an international mix of cultures or nationalities.


Our program focus is more on developing relationships between CIH guests and host families rather than on meeting people from other nationalities.

Learn More

Finances

Your host family will provide your housing and your meals.  They will also pay for any family outings in which you participate.  And our CIH program will pay for most of our group activities.


However, there are certain items for which you will be asked to personally pay.  These include:

FOR THE PHILADELPHIA TRIP
  • $20 in cash to cover transportation costs
  • $30 (cash or credit card) for the Double Decker Bus Tour (this tour is optional)
  • Suggested $30 (cash or credit card) for the cost of lunch and dinner
  • Admission fees to any museums, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, that you choose to visit during your free time. Being able to show your college Student ID card may get you a discounted admission fee.
  • Cash or credit card for any personal purchases

FOR THE WASHINGTON DC TRIP

  • $45 in cash to cover transportation costs 
  • $40 (cash or credit card) Trolley Tour (this tour is optional)
  • Suggested $30 (cash or credit card) for lunch and dinner costs during the Washington DC trip
  • Most national museums in Washington have free admission; however, you are responsible for admission fees if there are such fees.   Being able to show your college Student ID card may get you a discounted admission fee.
  • Cash or credit card for any personal purchases

INTERNATIONAL NIGHT

  • The cost of food needed to prepare your favorite recipe 

Banks will not accept personal checks.  However, most banks will accept debit cards at their automatic teller machines if you need cash.  In addition, VISA and MasterCard are widely accepted for purchases and meals.  

Click this text to start editing. This simple title and text block is great for welcome or explanatory text. When writing, try to keep things down to a few lines at a time. Break up your content into different blocks to keep your page interesting.

Click this text to start editing. This simple title and text block is great for welcome or explanatory text. When writing, try to keep things down to a few lines at a time. Break up your content into different blocks to keep your page interesting.

Lancaster County 

Free Visitor's Guide

Click below to request your free Lancaster County Visitor's Guide. 


Choose between an online or printed version.

Click here to request a guide

Philadelphia

Free Visitor's Guide

Click below to request your free Philadelphia Visitor's Guide. 


Choose between an app for your phone or an online or printed version.

Click here to request a guide

Pennsylvania

Free Visitor's Guide

Click below to request your free Pennsylvania  Visitor's Guide. 


Choose between an online or printed version.

Click here to request a guide

Washington DC 

Free Visitor's Guide

Click below to request your free Washington DC Visitor's Guide. 


Choose between an online or printed version.

Click here to request a guide

Click this text to start editing. This simple title and text block is great for welcome or explanatory text. When writing, try to keep things down to a few lines at a time. Break up your content into different blocks to keep your page interesting.

Click this text to start editing. This simple title and text block is great for welcome or explanatory text. When writing, try to keep things down to a few lines at a time. Break up your content into different blocks to keep your page interesting.

Lancaster County CIH lets you experience the Amish lifestyle


Lancaster County gives you the opportunity to meet and interact with the Amish and Mennonite communities.  First, you will be invited into the home of an Amish family for lunch - chicken corn noodle soup, red beet eggs, and apple pie - all traditional homemade foods.  You will notice no electricity in their home.  


Second, you will be invited to meet with the children in an Amish/Mennonite "one-room" schoolhouse.  It is called a "one-room" schoolhouse because grades 1-8 are all in "one-room."  Usually, the students will sing for us in their own unique singing style.  


Third, you will have the opportunity to take a ride in a horse and buggy - the exact transportation that the Amish and Mennonite people use on a daily basis.

Click here to learn more about the Amish Lifestyle

​Your CIH Hosts in Lancaster County

​Meet the folks with whom you will be spending the Holidays!

Deb Lorah

Program Coordinator

[email protected]

Deb loves coordinating all things for our CIH guests, host families and the CIH program.

Rod and Renita

Host Family

Rod and Renita have hosted international students for 15 years.  Their family enjoys everything from games and sports to music and traveling.

Brenda and Rahn

Host Family

Rahn and Brenda have hosted international students for over 25 years.  There is always something fun going on in their household.

Becoming a CIH Host Family

Christmas International House is an ecumenical program providing hospitality to international students during the Christmas holidays – a time when students have no place to go, when dormitories close and they are unable to return home. 


Through the hospitality of churches and civic groups, Christmas International House witnesses to the reality that, behind diverse manners of dress, religious affiliations, and political ideologies, everyone stands together as one human family.  Dialogue and exchange of ideas characterize the program - peacemaking at the grass-roots level.

What our customers are saying

I really appreciate that many people provided us the chance to experience the life in Lancaster County and to share precious time together!!! 

 I will not forget that I had a wonderful time with my host family and their pets and people who invited us. These two weeks were exciting, happy, warm, and delicious time for me!

Chen - from China