The IFH Handbook
Please carefully read through the IFH Handbook before applying to live at the IFH. We have found that these standards protect and strengthen the unique culture of the International Fellowship House.
Admission for residence at the International Fellowship House is possible throughout the year depending upon available space. Priority is given to students and scholars from other countries, although there are limited spaces available for American students who are interested in helping with the work of the IFH. The normal length of stay is one school year or more. At the end of the school year, the contracts are reviewed by the managers with each of the residents. No one is, therefore, guaranteed a stay in the house longer than one academic year.
Acceptance into the house is based largely upon a completed application (available online) and an interview with the managers. Recorded video and/or Skype interviews will be arranged for students that cannot do an interview in person. During this interview, the purpose and policies of the community are made clear to the prospective resident. Upon admission, the resident will fill out an IFH contract that includes positive identification (with valid visa and legal status), two references, and the expected length of stay. The form also has a place for the resident’s signature indicating his genuine interest in and acceptance of the responsibilities inherent in living at the IFH.
As an independent private organization, the IFH reserves the right to accept or reject prospective residents based on its stated purposes and its goal to create a community that is mixed in terms of race, language, religion, and geographical origin. The IFH reserves the right to dismiss contracted residents because of behavior the management deems contrary to community standards as stated in the handbook.
A long-term resident is one who lives at the IFH for more than one month. Short-term guests and travelers who stay in the house are required to abide by the house rules. They are subject to different rates and are not required to be at house meals, meetings, and activities.
A money deposit is required upon acceptance for residence at the IFH. A receipt for the deposit will be given at that time. This deposit, required of all long-term residents, serves to reserve a space in advance, cover any damages or janitorial fees incurred during the stay, and to discourage departure prior to the date listed on the signed agreement.
The deposit is refundable when a person leaves the IFH, following the managers’ inspection of the room. A portion or all of the deposit may be withheld if that person has damaged the facilities, failed to clean his room, or leaves prior to the stated departure date. The deposit is refunded to those who satisfactorily pass the inspection. The deposit cannot be used to pay last month's rent. The deposit will not be returned until the day of checkout.
There is one key for the front and back doors. This is issued when the deposit is received, including an additional $40 deposit for the key. It is absolutely prohibited to duplicate keys. If a key is lost, a new one will be issued by the managers at the cost of $40 to the resident. The house key is to be returned at checkout, at which time the key deposit will be refunded.
The rates for long-term residents vary depending on the size of the room and the number of roommates. The current average rate (as of August 2016) is $900 per person. Rates are subject to change with a thirty-day advance notice.
Linens must be used on all pillows and mattresses. All residents are expected to pay a one time linens fee of $25 or bring their own linens. Paid linens include a clean sheet set and a towel. A blanket/comforter and pillow are provided at no extra charge.
Monthly rent is due on the first day of each month. Payment may be made in cash, check or bank transfer; checks should be made payable to the "International Fellowship House" or "IFH". If a bank transfer fails, a bookkeeping fee will be charged. If a check is returned for insufficient funds, a bookkeeping fee will be charged and the resident will pay future rent in cash. A penalty will be charged for late payment. Receipts are issued for payments made to the IFH upon request. The last month of rent is to be paid in cash. The resident deposit cannot be used to pay the last month's rent. The deposit will not be returned until the day of checkout.
Breakfast and dinner are provided Monday through Friday. As a non-profit organization, we provide meals as a benefit to this community. No meals are gauranteed. They are simply offered to encourage friendship among residents and foster a family like environment. Lunches during the week as well as Saturday, Sunday, and holiday meals are not included, although food left over from weekday evening meals are placed in a refrigerator and may be eaten by residents at any time. Please note that no meals are provided on U.S. federal holidays OR between Christmas and New Year’s Day (Dec. 25 – Jan. 1).
Breakfast: Breakfast is served in the dining room for one hour every morning, Monday through Friday. It is usually between 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM. When residents finish eating, they rinse off their dishes and place them in the dishwasher. It is helpful to the cook for the residents not to wait until the last minute to come for breakfast.
Dinner: The dinner meal is an essential part of IFH’s community life. It is important to attend and be on time. Dinner is served Monday through Friday in the dining room on the first floor. A bell will ring at approximately 6:00 p.m., at which time all residents are expected to come to help bring the food up from the kitchen and help set up the table. After dinner, everyone clears the table of his own dishes and helps to clear the serving dishes and trays.
An expected date of departure must be listed on the IFH contract. With the manager’s permission, the stay may be renewed during the summer. (See Deposit Policy)
Procedure for Check-out :
Before a resident’s security deposit is returned, his room is inspected. The room, desk, drawers, and closet must be clean as well as house linen if it has been used. The room, storage areas, and kitchen should be free of personal belongings. Residents are expected to leave their forwarding address, and it is important to notify the Post Office of the new address as well. Mail should not continue coming to the house once a resident leaves. A cleaning fee will be charged to those who do not adequately clean their rooms before departure. The house key must be returned at checkout.
Residents are welcome to have occasional out-of-town male guests stay at the IFH. A male guest may stay for up to one night at no charge; after that time, short-term rates apply. Meals, after the first day, must be paid for. All overnight guests must be prearranged with the managers. One week's notice is preferable. No women or intimate guests are allowed to sleep in residents’ rooms. There is a 12:00am (midnight) curfew for all female guests–meaning that they need to be out of the house by midnight.
There are a limited number of tasks in the house which are often available to house residents. Dishwashing, house cleaning, bathroom cleaning and breakfast cooking can be done in exchange for some part of the room rent and board. If you are interested, let the managers know of your interest once you have been admitted for residence.
The IFH has a standard Massachusetts Tenant/Landlord insurance policy, covering the building and its contents and general liability. Although it is the house’s policy to maintain a clean and safe living environment, residents must take responsibility for their own health, safety, and personal belongings. They are therefore expected to have their own life, health, accident, and tenant’s insurance.
The living room is available for general use, talking, reading, and relaxing. This area is used as a reception area for visitors as well, so it is important that it be kept as neat as possible. The piano may be played when the doors are closed; however, music students should not use it for their practice sessions. The fireplace may be used but only with the manager’s permission.
The TV room is also available for general use. The TV room is equipped with a TV, a DVD player, VCR, and a nice surround sound home theater system. Access to over 100 cable channels, Netflix and Hulu is provided as well. When the TV is on, residents are expected to keep the doors shut to reduce noise in the rest of the house.
The residents’ kitchen is located on the first floor and is available for the preparation of lunches, snacks, and weekend meals. The following responsibilities apply:
· Wash all pots and pans with soap & hot water.
· Wipe all tables and counters (including the dining room tables).
· Clean up stove top and any oven spills.
· Make sure oven and burners are off.
· Return everything to its proper place.
· Sweep/clean floors as needed.
· Turn off the lights when not in use.
Use of the kitchen is a privilege; failure to accept the responsibilities involved will result in the closing of the area to everyone. For this facility to remain usable to everyone, everyone needs to cooperate.
Food items may be stored on the shelves and in the refrigerator in the areas designated by the managers. All items should be stored properly and labeled by name. Please do not borrow food from others without asking.
All resident rooms of the IFH are shared, so that residents will have the experience of living with a person from a different culture and language background.
Each resident is expected to keep his room clean and neat. If someone is irresponsible in this area it is unfair to those he lives with, and the managers may levy a fine if uncleanliness becomes a problem. Periodic room checks will be announced in advance.
Food in the rooms is a guarded privilege. It should be kept to a minimum. Problems arising from food in the rooms may negate this privilege. No cooking is to be done anywhere in the rooms or the house, only in the residents’ kitchen.
IFH vacuum cleaners are available for use. Trash may be disposed of in the big barrels in the basement, just outside the door.
Each room comes with a bed, desk, chair, bureau, closet, bookcase, lamp, and window fan. The fireplaces are never to be used in any of the private rooms. No electrical appliances (including portable heaters, air conditioners, microwaves, or small refrigerators) should be used.
There is some very valuable woodwork and furniture in the rooms and throughout the house, much of which cannot be replaced. No nails or holes may be made without first getting permission from one of the managers.
Although privacy is something valued and protected at the IFH, on occasion the managers may need to enter a room for maintenance, security, or other reasons. The resident will be asked first if he is in the house. Otherwise, the managers reserve the right of access to all the rooms in the IFH.
Bathrooms and Personal Cleanliness
The bathrooms are shared by all the residents and consequently must be maintained daily by each person in the house. Residents are expected to clean up after themselves when using the showers, toilets, and sinks. Please dry the sink area and floor after each use. Care must be taken not to put an excess of toilet paper in the toilets and not to put anything else in them besides toilet paper. Clean personal habits are essential in these commonly used areas of the house. Though the bathrooms are cleaned every week, it is important for each resident to clean up after himself after use.
Personal cleanliness is essential in a community residence. Each resident should take a shower several times a week and wash his clothes and linens regularly.
Residents are welcome to make use of the roof deck provided the door is locked shut after the last person leaves the roof.
· Gatherings with more than 5 non-resident guests need manager’s pre-approval three days in advance.
· All guests must be escorted to and from the roof.
· Residents need to recognize that the noise carries and therefore should be kept to a minimum.
· For safety reasons, all persons must stay within the deck area at all times.
· The roof deck closes for non-residents at 11:00 p.m. sharp; all guests must be off the deck at this time. This is a residential neighborhood, and our neighbors do not appreciate noise at night.
· The roof will remain open as long as it is used responsibly.
A coin-operated clothes washer and dryer are located in the basement for resident use.
· Please use only laundry detergent in the washer.
· Please clean lint filter in the front of the dryer after each use.
· Please do not leave clothes in the area for days.
· Please do not try to fix either machine if it malfunctions; notify the managers instead.
Parking behind the house is a privilege and not a right for those living in the house. All of the spaces are rented out or used by the managers and cook. Short term parking can be granted as long as the manager's have approved your request. For overnight parking there may be a charge.
Parking is permitted by the city of Boston on the streets for those with a sticker. The sticker is free but requires a personal bill with the house address and a car registration issued at the Boston office of the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
A limited amount of storage space is available throughout the house. All items must be clearly labeled with the owner’s name. The IFH assumes no responsibility for things taken from unlocked storage or for any damage to stored items. Items remaining after a resident leaves will be disposed of at the managers’ discretion. Residents storing items for longer than 3 months will be subject to a storage fee.
A public telephone is provided on each floor. Outgoing calls may be made to anywhere in the US.
The IFH is equipped with a wireless high-speed (DSL) internet network which is free for all current residents with a computer that has wireless capabilities.
Mail deliveries come every day, Monday through Saturday. The first person who receives the mail places it in the proper mail slots for the other residents. Former residents and non-residents mail should be placed in the appropriate "Former Residents" mail boxes for the managers to sort. No mail is to be thrown out.
The house provides various newspapers and magazines. These papers and magazines are to be read on the first floor only and left in the TV Room for everyone’s use.
The IFH provides its residents the following items in the common areas: paper towels, toilet paper, trash can liners, light bulbs, etc. These things should be used conservatively and not removed from the house. Residents provide their own laundry detergent, bath soap, and other toiletries.
The house must be locked at all times. Whenever leaving the house, members of the IFH are expected to make sure the door locks behind them. This is important for the safety of everyone and the security of the house. Strangers and non-residents are not allowed in the house unescorted. They may wait in the living room for their host or a manager. They are not allowed to wander through the building alone. If the person they want to see is out they should be advised to return later.
The house is well equipped with smoke detectors and a fire alarm system. Residents should be familiar with how to use the fire extinguishers on each floor and all the means of escape in case of emergency. A loud bell or blare means immediate evacuation. If the smoke detector in your room begins beeping, please tell the managers immediately so the battery can be replaced.
Fires must be prevented by careful cooking in the kitchen, not overloading electrical circuits, caution with flammable substances, keeping clothing and curtains away from radiators, etc.
IFH Community Life
Residents may organize activities that are open to all members of the house. Gatherings including more than five non-residents should be cleared with the managers in advance.
A weekly discussion focusing on personal, spiritual, cultural, social and/or political issues is usually held on Sunday nights at 8 PM. This provides an open forum for expression, sharing, and personal reflection.
Other social activities are periodically planned to give the residents a chance to experience many of the sights and sounds of the surrounding city and the northeastern corner of the USA. Attendance at an all-house fall weekend retreat is encouraged. There are other weekend trips planned for each season.
Periodically residents of the IFH gather for “house meetings.” This is a time to plan activities together, make suggestions, and for the managers to report on official house business and Board of Director’s decisions. Attendance at these meetings is required.
Periodically there is a day when the managers and all the residents work together on various tasks to help keep the house in good shape and the maintenance costs down. These days are scheduled at the managers’ discretion and usually happen once every three to four months. A spirit of cooperation and effort always helps to make the workdays an enjoyable community activity. Students are allowed to reschedule to a different time to do their work if there is a major schedule conflict and they obtain prior approval from the managers. Work days are required.
The managers assign minor household chores that rotate among all the members of the house. These chores are required.
Quiet hours are between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. every day. During this time, residents should show deference to roommates who need to sleep. Since students who are serious about their studies occupy the house, all residents should respect the needs of each other in this matter. When watching TV, playing the piano, or entertaining guests, doors should be closed in the common areas to reduce noise. The piano may not be played during quiet hours.
In the interest of promoting community, please speak English in all common rooms. This lets everyone feel included and is helpful for those who are in the house to learn English.
Any needed repairs or suggestions should be reported to the managers. They will also give the necessary approval for residents to make their own repairs, when appropriate.
1. Smoking is not allowed in the IFH.
2. Drugs and the drunken abuse of alcohol will not be tolerated in the IFH. Drinking under the age of 21 is not allowed in the United States or the IFH.
3. Stealing, whether food or personal items, will not be tolerated at any level.
4. The IFH is based on principles of mutual respect and the dignity of all people allowing for the diverse cultural and religious backgrounds of the residents, therefore we ask residents to refrain from the display and use of sexually explicit, violent, or any offensive material (including pornography, either in paper or digtial form).
5. All residents are expected to treat each other and the guests of the IFH with dignity and respect and to contribute to an atmosphere of understanding and support. Should any one neglect his responsibilities or become uncooperative, the managers have the responsibility and the authority to dismiss him. At that time, all accounts must be settled.
Violation of any of these standards is grounds for immediate dismissal.
A Final Word
The managers and the Board of Directors sincerely hope that each international student has an enjoyable and enriching experience at the International Fellowship House. It is their hope that every person will be a contributing member, helping to make it a true community of cross-cultural friendship.