Program will match USD international students, local citizens

Program will match USD international students, local citizens The University of South Dakota has over 100 students who have come from all over the world to pursue their education in Vermillion.

To give students a taste of culture and warm local hospitality, the International Student Office of USD is building an innovative program dubbed "BRANCHES."

This program seeks to match an international student of USD with an American family, giving both parties an opportunity to know the world beyond their respective cultures.

Goals of the program include:

* Share U.S. life and culture.

* Learn more about other cultures.

* Participate in stimulating conversations.

* Acquaint family members with other parts of the world.

* Foster diversity in the community.

* Give an international student a "home" abroad.

* Make a new friend.

Local citizens are invited to participate in this program. Participants are expected to agree to be a friend to one or more international students for at least one year, contact the student (by phone or campus visit) at least once a month to see how he or she is doing, include him/her in some activities, and spend time discussing topics of mutual interest.

It is hoped that local citizens will also participate in at least one of the social activities planned for USD international students.

Citizens are not required to give any type of financial support or accommodation to their student-friends. However, they are at liberty to invite students to stay over a weekend if they wish.

This program has been successfully organized in various universities throughout the United States. It can only be successful here with citizens' participation and commitment.

Local residents who are ready to make friends with an international student may contact the International Student Office at 677-6326 or by e-mail at

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