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Holiday matchmaker

By Mandy Cook

Imagine travelling to a far off place, moving thousands of miles from your family and home country, in order to achieve the education of your dreams.

Now imagine the bustling university campus you call your home away from home empties overnight when all your friends vacate the place to spend Christmas holidays with their families.

Memorial’s international students are too far away from home – it might be Zimbabwe, it could be Malaysia – to visit their relatives during the holiday break.

The International Student Advising Office (ISA) hopes to help make the season a little brighter for students from around the globe who study at Memorial.

The holiday hosting program matches students with local families who open up their homes on Christmas Day to share a home-cooked meal. In turn, families have the opportunity to learn about Christmas traditions from other parts of the world.

“The students feel closer to the culture here during the exchange,” said Shahana Islam, international families co-ordinator with the ISA. “The hosts get to know the students and learn from the experience.”

Last year, approximately 60 students took part in this event. This year organizers are hoping even more will participate.

Members of the university community who would like to take part in the holiday hosting program should get in touch with organizers as soon as possible.

Faculty, staff or other students who would like to learn more about the program can e-mail or call the International Student Advising Office at 709-737-7505.