There are a variety of opportunities for ISI Volunteers to help international students. As one Friendship Partner® said, "When international students arrive, everything is new. They need someone to prepare them for how things are done, how we think, and the easiest ways to adjust to our culture. They need someone who is truly going to be their friend."
Another way volunteers can help international students is by tutoring them in English. They do not need to be highly structured lessons. Meeting with the student on a weekly basis for conversation practice can be very helpful to the student and lots of fun for the volunteer. Some students may desire more structured in-depth teaching. Volunteers who are interested in offering this can do so by teaching Intensive English Program (IEP) classes. Students may also need help in their class subjects. Learning a new subject may have its challenges, but imagine learning a new subject in a new language. One-on-one tutoring and proofreading a student's papers can help an international student keep up with his or her studies.
Volunteers can help in other ways as well.
- Picking students up at the airport is a good way to make their first impression in a new country a positive one.
- Students also need help with finding temporary housing and apartment hunting.
- Taking students sightseeing and on shopping excursions are another way volunteers can help.
- A favorite activity of international students and Friendship Partners® alike are dinners and other social activities where interesting discussions and idea exchanges take place and perspectives on social, religious and cultural issues are shared.
International students aren't the only ones at the receiving end of this relationship. Friendship Partners® by their interaction with international students, receive cultural experiences which enrich their lives. Many become lifelong friends with their international students.
Click here for more information about becoming a Friendship Partner.
If there is no staff near you, contact a Volunteer Services representative at ISI's home office for more information on how you can get involved.