International Student Outreach: Friendship Partners

International-StudentsPlease join Sevim McCutcheon and an international student to learn about opportunities for UUs to connect with college students from around the world!

Informational meeting on Sunday, July 19th, at 12:45 p.m. in Fessenden Hall. 

Snacks will be provided. Feel free to bring a lunch.

For more information, contact Sevim McCutcheon.

If you can’t make it to this meeting but want to get involved, contact Sevim.

Nearly 3,000 international students from scores of countries will attend Kent State University this fall.

They come to the United States hoping to engage in local activities and make connections with people who live here.

Often, international students arrive in the United States alone and without family members or friends in the area to assist in the transition into their new surroundings. In this situation, support from the local community in the form of a “friendship partner” can be a key to adjusting to culture shock and connecting with their new hometown.

In this proposed Friendship Partners program, American individuals, couples and families are introduced to an international student or two, with potential for building relationships and sharing culture in unique and fulfilling ways.

Friendship partners can engage in a variety of activities with their international students, depending on mutual interests and schedules.  Possibilities include informal meals, holiday traditions and celebrations, outings to local festivals and sporting events, shopping, and hikes in nearby parks.

Given UU values and principles, Sevim considers the UU congregation to be especially well suited for reaching out in positive and accepting ways to international students of many backgrounds, religions, and cultures. Sevim will gather contact information from interested Americans and interested international students and facilitate the initial connection.

In addition to the Friendship Partners program, for those with a spare bedroom who are interested, there are opportunities to host international students in your home. This can be temporary (a few days to a week, giving students a “home base” from which to find more permanent housing) or longer term (a semester or more).  Housing needs are especially acute for new, incoming international students in August, just prior to the fall semester.

While Sevim meets international students and learns about their needs and situations because she works at KSU, this pilot program has no formal affiliation with Kent State University.

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