International Educator - November/December 2012 - 30

Building Social Networks
One of the most common and effective ways to help students adjust to their new environment and build relationships is to match them with host families from the local community. The University of Houston’s International Friendship Program, hosted by the International Student and Scholar Services Office and through which Liu met the Donovan family, has seen many positive results since its inception in 1970. Host families are asked to commit to monthly get-togethers with their international students or scholars, and either party can drop out at any time if the need arises, explains coordinator Dale Hamilton.

Vien Cao with her hosts, Bruce and Louise Williams.

“For many students, it may be the only way they get off campus to meet folks,” Hamilton says. “This is a good way to help the student personally meet Texans or Americans, and I think they develop a good bond that you just don’t get on campus with your roommates or your professors. We have some former students who are still in touch with the families they met 20 and 30 years ago. They form lifelong friendships.” While these relationships benefit the students in their personal and academic endeavors, Hamilton notes that they also may boost recruitment and retention. The international students and scholars tend to e-mail their friends and families and post on social media sites pictures and descriptions of the fun outings with their host families. Once they return home, they continue talking about those experiences—and sometimes invite their American host families to visit their country. Their ex-

citement is contagious, and that may encourage other international students and scholars to choose the University of Houston. Some have even signed up online for the International Friendship Program before arriving in Houston, Hamilton notes. Once they form bonds on campus, they are more likely to stay and complete their degree programs or research projects. “The sphere of influence goes beyond the actual student who was here,” Hamilton says. “They let their family and friends back home know about the good times they had here. It’s helping people of both countries get a better view of each other, and that can only be a good thing for relationships between countries and people as well.” At SIU, building community starts with engaging about 200 U.S. campus and community volunteers in a broad range of programs and projects supporting international students and scholars. The Loan Closet, for example, provides household items and winter coats that international visitors may borrow during their stay in the United States. Through English in Action and Language Exchange, foreign students and community volunteers can break down cultural barriers through practicing each other’s languages. IN GEAR provides opportunities for international students and scholars to share their culture in nearby schools. Mother Care friendship teams, comprising community volunteers, offer support and encouragement to pregnant international women by helping them wade through unfamiliar medical terms and procedures; shop for maternity clothing and baby items; host a baby shower; and share in the joy of the occasion. International students are just as likely as their American counterparts to face personal crises, too. The difficulty of the situation is only compounded when the student is far away from close family and friends—and immigration restrictions often prevent them from being able to come to the United States right away. At SIU, an Emergency Response Team of volunteers may provide legal, medical, insurance, spiritual, and counseling support to international students, scholars, and their families in times of need. The team was activated recently, for example, when an international graduate student was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease with treatments scheduled once or twice a day, four days each week. Though friends took turns transporting him at first, the volume of appointments became too much for them to handle alone. SIU activated an Emergency Response Team to take the student to and from medical appointments for about five months, until his wife could join him in the United

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PHOTO COUTESY OF VIEN CAO. UPPER LEFT: BIGSTOCK



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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