CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: Aug. 18, 2000
Community invited to Friends of International Students
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- More participants are needed for
the Friends of International Students program, which matches local residents
with international students at the University of Iowa. Community members can
learn more about the program (FIS) at a picnic Sunday, Aug. 27 from noon to
4 p.m. in Shelter 11 in Lower City Park, rain or shine.
Unmatched students as well as international students
and Friends who are already matched will attend the picnic. Matched Friends
are asked to bring plenty of food to share and table service. FIS will provide
the beverages. Door prizes will also be given, and FIS t-shirts can be purchased
for $5. A new feature this year will be a variety of group games.
"There is an ongoing need for new Friends to be matched
with international students," said FIS president Ethel Bontrager. "It's especially
important to get more Friends in the program now because many new international
students have recently arrived on campus, and we want to welcome them to the
University of Iowa and make it a special time for them."
An estimated 375 new international students have recently
arrived on the UI campus, bringing total international student enrollment
to nearly 1,800. Many of these new students wish to meet Americans who will
help welcome them to the local community and show them the ropes in their
new home in Iowa. New students who have applied to the program are from the
following countries: Lebanon, Poland, Romania, Chile, Cuba, Nigeria, South
Africa, Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Kenya. The majority of students are from
China and India.
FIS is a non-profit organization of people in the
local community who are interested in meeting and helping international students
from the UI. FIS is affiliated with the Office of International Students and
Scholars (OISS) at the UI and is run by community volunteers.
Volunteer community Friends are matched with international
students and spend time together doing fun activities that are an everyday
part of life such as having dinner together, going on a picnic, going to a
movie or just getting together and chatting.
Cheryl Mason, international student adviser and FIS
liaison, said that currently more than 150 Friends and more than 250 international
students are involved with FIS.
"The main thing FIS does is help students adjust not
only to Iowa and the university, but also to American culture," Mason says.
"FIS really helps with the adjustment and helps make the transition a lot
Families as well as single people may volunteer for
the program. FIS volunteers represent all age groups, from students to senior
citizens. FIS is a flexible program. There are no set activities or
time commitments. Although the program encourages people
to meet at least once a month, others meet more often.
For more information about the picnic or to get involved
with the program, call (319) 335-0343 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
OISS provides information, services, and programs
that help international students and scholars benefit from their stays in
Iowa. The office also seeks to foster constructive relationships among international
and other members of the university community. Student advisers provide orientation
for international students and scholars, personal counseling and advising,
immigration advising, financial counseling, conflict resolution and crisis
intervention. They also serve as liaisons with the Friends of International
Students and the International Women's Club. For more information, call 335-0335,
or visit the office in 120 International Center.
OISS is part of UI International Programs, which consist
of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research
projects and services. Organized under the Associate Provost and Dean for
International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the
campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.
The OISS is located in the International Center on
the UI campus. The International Center is located at the end of Ferson Avenue
in Iowa City, off of Park Road.
(NOTE TO EDITOR'S AND PHOTOGRAPHERS: The Aug. 27 picnic
provides photo opportunities for print and TV since there is usually a good
turnout. A personal feature illustrating a match can be arranged. If you wish
to interview a current match, please call Lois Gray at (319) 335-2026.)