I am from Alaska so while deciding to come to the academy I was worried (and so was my mom) about moving so far away from home. The time difference makes traveling home challenging and I didn’t know anyone near New London that I could go to on weekends unlike the cadets that live only a few hours away. Thankfully the academy has a sponsor family program for cadets! As a 4/c cadet you can be paired up with a civilian or military family (your choice) and you can stay with them while on liberty. When I heard about the program I took full advantage of it and I’m very glad I did! Every free weekend I had I stayed with my family, explored Connecticut, ate homecooked food, and relaxed away from the academy. You can even wear civilian clothes while at their house!
How does it work? During swab summer you can opt into the program and you will be assigned a family. When signing up, the questionnaire has preferences such as military or nonmilitary and they try to match your interests so that you have something in common with your sponsor family. The program is only official for your 4/c year but many families welcome you all four years. I still hang out with my family when I can. Homesickness can be tough, and my sponsor family made it much easier to deal with. Most likely I will stay in touch with my sponsor family even after I graduate. The program isn’t only for cadets from far away, anyone can apply, and I definitely recommend it!