International students will again be paired with local individuals and families this fall through Missouri University of Science and Technology’s International Friends Program. The program helps the students adjust to life in the United States and its participants often forge lifelong friendships.
Keith and Bobbie Wedge have been involved in the program for several years. “Former students still call us from around the world on birthdays and other special occasions,” says Keith, retired brigadier general and currently program manager for Advancia Corp., and a Missouri S&T graduate. “Bobbie and I have many fond memories of time spent with the students.”
Students will be paired with community friends during a reception at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, in Missouri S&T’s Southwestern Bell Cultural Center, 1207 N. Elm St., in Rolla.
Through the program, members of the community and international students can share conversations, meals, and other activities. Sponsors are not asked to assist the students financially or provide housing.
“I always wondered how an American home would be,” says Omar Baeshen, a graduate student studying engineering management from Saudi Arabia. “The International Friends program gave me an insider look into the culture. The family I was paired with hosted dinner parties which were extremely valuable to enhance my understanding of the English language and the most recent social, cultural and political issues of the United States.”
Wedge says students are always eager to learn more about American history and customs. “One year we had students from China, India, Thailand, Turkey and Kuwait all together for Thanksgiving dinner at our home.”
Prospective participants are asked to fill out and return a questionnaire by Friday, Sept. 24. The downloadable form is available online, or you can call or stop by the S&T international affairs office at 573-341-6147 or Room 103 Norwood Hall.
Wedge encourages more Rolla citizens to participate in the program. “It is a unique experience and a great opportunity to learn more about our world,” he says.
Baeshen says he would recommend the program without hesitation to any fellow international student.
For more information on the program, contact Missouri S&T international affairs at 573-341-6147, or email Roberta Morgan, program coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.