New IUPUI program brings international students, alumni together
A new program to help integrate international students into the IUPUI and Indianapolis communities kicked off Oct. 18 with a reception at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’ University Tower.
The International Host Program brings together alumni interested in serving as hosts to provide friendship and support for international students and help instill a sense of campus pride and spirit while the students are in the United States and attending IUPUI. International students are able to share their culture and diverse backgrounds with alumni.
The program is a partnership between the IUPUI offices of alumni relations and international affairs.
More than 100 alumni signed up to be hosts and offer a wide range of support activities, including mentoring students and inviting them to dinner, sports events and events off campus. Hosts are expected to meet with their students at least once a month, serve as a support for them, invite students to family gatherings, work events or IUPUI athletic events, and participate in events hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations and the Office of International Affairs.
“The strong response to the International Host Program demonstrates our alumni’s commitment to the success and experiences of our international students,” said Karen Jones, senior director of alumni programs in the Office of Alumni Relations.
International students gain a support system in the U.S., have an opportunity to increase English language skills and intercommunication skills and learn about American culture.
“International students often find it difficult to meet Americans, and frequently leave the U.S. without having experienced American life and traditions,” said Sandi Lemons, associate director for student services in the Office of International Affairs. “By bringing them together with alumni, we hope that international students will gain new perspectives on American life, while at the same time sharing their own cultural background with members of the Indianapolis community.”