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Getting Involved in the Community
Getting Involved in the Community

There are many community organizations. Some offer short-term loan funds, others have special holiday hospitality programs, and still others operate "speakers' bureaus," which arrange visits by international students to local schools and organizations. A community group affiliated with your campus may offer training courses for spouses, language classes, and even a "meet-and-greet" program for new arrivals. The important point to remember is that these organizations were formed to help international students and their families, and they are almost always made up of volunteers. They want to meet you and your dependents and assist you in any way they can. If you need any of their services, do not hesitate to use them. Below are just two of the many types of programs you can participate in or join.
Host Family Programs

These programs match a U.S. family with an international student for the purpose of friendship and culture sharing. Many students believe that host families provide housing, but this is not usually the case. Rather, the program arranges for students to visit a family's home for meals, especially during special occasions such as the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays. Sometimes, if the relationship becomes close, a student may visit his or her host family much more often. Typically, a host family program offers the opportunity for friendship with a family and for learning about U.S. family life and culture, as well as a chance to share your culture with that family. If your community offers a host family program, you should certainly consider participating in it.

Clothing Banks

Some community programs organize "clothing banks," a collection of used clothing donated by people who want to assist newcomers to this country. Many of these banks exist in the northern areas of the United States where the cold winter climate requires heavy clothing that some international students may not have when they arrive. Since this type of clothing can be very expensive, such banks serve a useful purpose, especially for students with little extra money.
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