Volunteers Sought for Program Devoted to Building Intercultural Understanding

The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) is seeking volunteers to serve as hosts in its Community Friends program, which aims to promote intercultural understanding and create global friendships by matching international students with residents of the New Haven area.

Nearly 500 new international students will arrive on campus in August to begin their studies at Yale.

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 are encouraged to serve as Community Friends hosts.

This past year, nearly 50 faculty and staff members participated in the program. Husband and wife Arthur and Mary Hunt, who both work for Information Technology Services, have hosted international undergraduates for several years.

“I love this program,” says Art Hunt. “It is an opportunity for Mary and me to make friends with Yale international students and learn about their studies, interests, country and culture. It has been a wonderful way to broaden our knowledge of another culture and country, to hear a ‘local’ perspective on their country’s events in the news and to learn how they view world events.”

Those interested in becoming hosts can sign up online at www.oiss.yale.edu/hostfamily. For more information about Community Friends, contact Abigail Borchert at (203) 432-2305 or abigail.borchert@yale.edu.

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