The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is launching a cultural exchange program that offers international students a taste of American life.
Called “Dinner in an American Home,” the initiative links international students with faculty and staff. Participating faculty and staff host dinner for two or three students once during the semester, offering the students a glimpse into how Americans live and eat.
Student participants learn from the hosts while also sharing information about their own culture through photos, videos, maps and other media they bring to the dinner.
New Student Enrollment and Student Engagement piloted the project in spring 2015 with 20 international students enrolled in “U.S. Education in the Age of Globalization” (CYAF 121), a course offered by Children, Youth and Family Studies. Feedback from the pilot was overwhelmingly positive.
““I would totally recommend it,” said Jenny Hammond, assistant director of marketing for special populations, who hosted two students in spring 2015. “It was a way to bring the world to our dinner table. I would definitely do it again.”
Pat McBride, director of NSE and a coordinator for Student Engagement, said he’s received emails from several students whose friends participated in the pilot, asking when or if the program would be expanded.
“They want the experience of not only studying in the U.S., but also getting off of campus and into an American home,” McBride said. “Not many international students have had that opportunity, so now we can give that to them through this program.”
Registration for “Dinner in an American Home” is open through Feb. 22. Faculty, staff and students can register on the NSE website.
When participants register, they select dates when they are available to attend an introductory reception. Hosts will be matched with students based on the receptions that they and their potential guests can attend. At the reception, hosts and students will meet, make dinner arrangements and discuss dietary restrictions. They must schedule the dinner within two weeks of the reception.
For more information about the program, contact McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org.