International programs seek volunteers

Have you ever wanted to explain the intricacies of American football to someone who knows nothing about it? Would you like to show St. Louis to someone who never has been here? Are you interested in learning about other cultures and, in the process, perhaps learning more about your own?

If so, the Office for International Students and Scholars is looking for you. The office is seeking volunteers to participate in a pair of community-connected programs that promote international friendships and further cross-cultural awareness.

The Host Family program is designed to advance the cultural exchange between international students and local volunteers. Families get together with their student or students once a month for dinners, trips to the theater, movies, sporting events or sightseeing. Host families can include single adults, single parents, retirees and families with or without children.

Host families do not provide living accommodations. However, they do help temper the loneliness international students face living and studying so far from home. They also provide a firsthand view of life in the United States.

The Speak English With Us program matches community volunteers with international students, faculty and researchers from both the Danforth and Medical campuses who want to improve their understanding of the English language and culture.

Although WUSTL offers courses such as English as a Second Language, many of these students have an additional desire to improve their everyday, practical English. They agree to meet at a mutually convenient time and place, usually once a week for about an hour.

Volunteers are not required to be trained teachers or have any special language skills.

The demand for host families and Speak English With Us volunteers continues to grow as more and more international students come to the University to study. While the international student body includes students from more than 100 different nations, the majority of applicants to these programs are graduate students from China, Taiwan and Korea.

For more information on these programs, call the Office for International Students and Scholars at 935-5910.