Queen's University

Hosts help ease the transition for international students

[International student Reem Khan and host Pamela Hollywood]International graduate student Reem Khan (left) and host Pamela Hollywood.

For many international students, arriving in Kingston is an exciting and overwhelming experience. For two decades, the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) has been running a volunteer host program that makes the transition a little easier. Once again this fall, the Centre is looking for volunteers to act as hosts for incoming students when they arrive in the Limestone City.

“It’s quite an important moment, arriving to Kingston and on campus,” says Hanna Stanbury, the student programs promotion and volunteer coordinator at QUIC. “Hosts make them feel welcome and ease their way into a new environment. It starts the Queen’s experience on the right foot.”

International students often travel great distances to come to Queen’s and some arrive jetlagged and exhausted. Hosts provide a safe place for a student to stay and sleep for one to three nights after their arrival. They are not required to provide meals, transportation, or other additional services.

For many hosts, the experience provides a chance to get to know young people from all over the world. Pamela Hollywood works in the Office of Advancement and has hosted half a dozen students from places like Germany, India, Pakistan and Israel.

“I heard about the program and thought it was a great way to give back,” says Ms Hollywood. “For me, it’s a matter of making individuals feel comfortable in a country they’re not familiar with, and making their transition as easy as possible.”

Ms Hollywood has stayed in touch with many of the students she’s hosted, and says she’s happy to provide a place to stay for young people whose own parents are often worried about their safety.

“Parents can take comfort knowing their children are in good hands,” she says.

For more information or to become a host, visit the QUIC website or contact Hanna Stanbury at hanna.stanbury@queensu.ca.  

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Last updated at 9:45 pm EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
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