Nearly 500 new international students will arrive on campus in August to begin their studies at Yale. Be among the first to welcome them to their new home and community by volunteering to serve as a Community Friends host. Community Friends of Yale International Students, organized by the Office of International Students and Scholars, aims to promote intercultural understanding and create global friendships by matching international students with residents of the New Haven area.
Community Friends is not a home-stay program. Students and hosts keep in touch via phone and e-mail and meet occasionally to share a meal, join in an activity, or take part in a holiday tradition. The program offers students a source of support in the local community and a chance to experience U.S. culture, while giving hosts the opportunity to learn about another culture firsthand and to see the United States through the eyes of a visitor. Single people, couples, and families of all sizes are encouraged to serve as Community Friends hosts.
This past year nearly 50 faculty and staff members participated in the program. Paul Genecin, director of University Health Services, and his wife Vicki Morrow, Psychiatry, have been matched with international families from Taiwan and Germany. He says of Community Friends, “This is a wonderful program and at least as valuable for the hosts as for the guests.”
Dana Ciccone, Development, reflects on getting to know her partner, a graduate student from China, “Every time we meet I walk away feeling like I learned something: something about her culture; something about my culture; something about myself. She has shared herself openly with me, and in addition to gaining the valuable learning experience of our cultural exchange, I have also gained a friend.”
Art and Mary Hunt, both of Information Technology Services (ITS), have hosted international undergraduates for the past four years and shared numerous valuable experiences with their students, including family dinners, holidays, and outdoor activities. Says Art, “It has been a wonderful way to broaden our knowledge of another culture and strengthen our connection to the University.”
OISS is actively seeking new hosts for this program. For more information about Community Friends and to sign up, please contact Abigail Borchert at 432-2305 or firstname.lastname@example.org.