CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: Sept. 7, 1999
Community invited to Friends of International Students
picnic Sept. 12
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- More participants are needed for
a program that matches local residents with international students at the
University of Iowa. Community members will have an opportunity to learn more
about Friends of International Students (FIS) at a picnic Sunday, Sept. 12.
The picnic will be held from 12:30 to 4 p.m. in Shelter
11 in Lower City Park, rain or shine. Eating will begin at 1 p.m. At that
time, unmatched international students will be present as well as international
students and Friends who are already matched. Each Friend is to bring plenty
of food to share and table service to the picnic. FIS will provide the drinks.
"There is an ongoing need for new Friends to be matched
with international students," says 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 enrollment to 1,600 international
students. 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: China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, India, Kenya, Egypt, Romania, Nigeria,
Scotland, Mexico, Colombia, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands. 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. Students from countries as diverse as the
People's Republic of China and India to Australia, Egypt, Germany and Greece
wish to meet American friends.
"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, call Susan
Fullenkamp at 341-3783 or Ethel Bontrager at (319) 656-2481. FIS representatives
are also available to give a slide show presentation to churches, area organizations,
clubs or other groups. Call Bontrager to schedule a speaking engagement.
To get involved with the FIS program, call (319) 335-0343
or send e-mail to 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 Womens Club. Call 335-0335, or visit
the office in 120 IC, weekdays 1 to 4 p.m.
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.