International Educator - November/December 2012 - 26

HEN HAN LIU ARRIVED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON in October 2010 as a visiting scholar from Jinlin University in China, he knew little about Texas and the United States—except that fellow Chinese citizen Yao Ming played for the NBA’s Houston Rockets. Adding to the culture shock that set in during Liu’s first month in Houston was loneliness: his wife, Sophia Wang, remained in China until July 2011. Wanting to make connections with people and places in the community beyond campus, Liu decided to sign up for the university’s International Friendship Program, which matches foreign visitors with families in the community.
A month after his arrival in the United States, Liu was matched up with the Donovan family—Gregg, Karin, and their children Peyton and Brazos (who were 8 and 9 years old at the time). While he anticipated that the cross-cultural relationship would expose him to American traditions, help him practice his English, and acclimate to the city, Liu was surprised to have developed such a close friendship with the family. He gets together with them about twice each week, enjoying fun outings such as parties, concerts, restaurants, bowling, and movies. Liu recently gave a presentation about China to Peyton’s Girl Scout troop for a World Feast dinner event. “I was so excited [about the program] and filled out the form,” says Liu, who is in Houston to conduct research on business cycles and economic forecasting for his PhD dissertation. “It helped me a lot to get used to living in Houston. Fortunately I met such a nice and helpful family. I can learn lots of things about America through this international relationship, and I can introduce China to my Houston friends, too. I can practice [speaking] English, play games with the family, and know things about America and get closely involved in their American lives.” Having these American friends in Houston “is precious to me,” says Liu, noting that the Donovan family already is planning to visit him in China in 2014. “We are so happy to meet each other every time. [The relationship] lets me know more things about the U.S. and gives me lots of good memories while I am studying in the U.S. It is the most unforgettable experience. I’ll never, ever forget.”

Making Friends
Like Liu, many international students and scholars find that forming friendships with Americans and learning about U.S. culture is an important component of studying abroad. Doing so not only helps them adjust culturally but also enriches their overall experience in the United States. “For a true cross-cultural experience, it’s important for international students to get out into the local community,” says Linda Melville, associate director for international student and scholar services at the University of New Mexico. “Most international students spend time on campus, and many never get to have a community experience. On campus, they get a particular view of reality that may not be everybody’s view of reality—it’s got a particular subculture. For them to have a broad experience, it’s important to get out to the community to see what the culture is like outside of the campus.” But many international students in the United States have few American friends, despite their desire to form meaningful relationships with peers from their host country, found a recent study published in the National Communication Association’s Journal of International and Intercultural Communication. Communication studies professor Elisabeth Gareis of Baruch College/City University of New York, found that nearly 40 percent of the 450 foreign undergraduate and graduate students in the American South and Northeast who responded to the survey “had no close friends and would have liked more meaningful interaction with people born here,” according to an NCA press

26

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR N O V + D E C .1 2



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - November/December 2012

International Educator - November/December 2012
Table of Contents
From the Editors
In Brief
Voices
Transforming Lives
Local Connections
Juniata College Faculty Discovered the World and Students Followed
Partnering
Forum
In Focus
Health and Insurance Supplement
International Educator - November/December 2012 - International Educator - November/December 2012
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Cover2
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Table of Contents
International Educator - November/December 2012 - From the Editors
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 3
International Educator - November/December 2012 - In Brief
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 5
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 6
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 7
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 8
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 9
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Voices
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 11
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 12
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 13
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Transforming Lives
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 15
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 16
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 17
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 18
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 19
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 20
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 21
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 22
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 23
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 24
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 25
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Local Connections
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 27
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 28
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 29
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 30
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 31
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 32
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 33
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Juniata College Faculty Discovered the World and Students Followed
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 35
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 36
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 37
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 38
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 39
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Partnering
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 41
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 42
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 43
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Forum
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 45
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 46
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 47
International Educator - November/December 2012 - In Focus
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Cover3
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Cover4
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Health and Insurance Supplement
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-Cover2
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-1
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-2
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-3
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-4
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-5
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-6
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-7
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-8
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-9
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-10
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-11
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-12
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-13
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-14
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-15
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-16
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-17
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-18
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-19
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-20
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-Cover3
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-Cover4
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