Published February 24, 2015

Host families sought

Office of Intercultural Life would love to match international students with local families

Monmouth College’s Office of Intercultural Life is looking for area families to serve as host families for international students. The students do not live in the host family’s home.
 
“When we consider what an international student faces in coming to the U.S., we marvel at how they succeed,” said Ruby Pentsil-Bukari, MC’s director of intercultural life. “They pack up and leave home, perhaps for the first time. The food may not agree with them and the social customs may seem strange and even illogical. They are likely to go through one or more periods of acute homesickness.”
 
The objectives of the college’s host family program are to ease that transition as much as possible and give the international students a soft place to land.
 
“We want to provide a comfortable home environment for international students in which they can experience the warmth and caring of a family circle,” said Pentsil-Bukari. “Our host families also help introduce the students to a broader spectrum of American life and culture.”
 
Additionally, she said, host families allow the students an opportunity to participate in American holiday traditions, such as Thanskgiving and Christmas, and help further their appreciation for the distinctiveness of the Midwest.
 
And the students can return the favor, said Pentsil-Bukari, cooking meals from their native lands for the families.
 
“Families can even make that a fun excursion, taking the student to a special grocery store for all the right ingredients, and at the same time getting them out into the community for other activities and connections, too,” she said. “We encourage our families to introduce the students to different aspects of community life and to their friends.  Yard sales, school fairs and other community or church events can be fun for the students.”
 
Persons interested in sharing American values and cultures with international students and in turn learning about their culture are asked to contact Pentsil-Bukari by e-mail at rpentsilbukari@monmouthcollege.edu or by phone at 309-457-2113 for more information.
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