“When I was a student, Davis & Elkins College became my second family.” This phrase, or a variation thereof, is one I have heard hundreds of times from alumni during my travels on behalf of the College. As was true in the past, today’s students continue to experience the family atmosphere at D&E. Unlike large impersonal universities, D&E offers a caring and nurturing community that values each student as an individual brimming with opportunity. This is a hallmark that is central to the D&E experience.
Within the Davis & Elkins College family there is one group of students, for me, that garners added respect. That group is our international students. Better than one of every eight students on this campus comes from a country other than the United States. Some are just across our border while others are literally from the other side of the world. Students on campus this spring come from more than two dozen countries representing six continents. They are excellent students, many are student-athletes, and all bring an inspiring and refreshing diversity to the campus and the region.
I admire the gumption of a young man or woman willing to travel great distances, experience a new culture, perhaps immerse themselves in a land that speaks a language different from their own, and devote four years of their life to bettering themselves and growing immensely as an individual. At their age I am not convinced I would have been brave enough to go on such an adventure.
Because we value family, Davis & Elkins sponsors a Host Family Program for our international students. Presently we are recruiting local volunteer families to open their homes and hearts to these outstanding young men and women.
The Host Family Program is all about making connections and sharing the college community experience with incoming and current international students. In brief, the Host Family Program helps international students connect with our local community and local interests. They share cultural experiences related to arts and music, holiday celebrations, sports and leisure, and even daily life. Host families help students adapt to our climate and culture and provide assistance such as airport pick-up, free room and board for those arriving before residence halls open, holiday break hospitality and a warm welcome to the area and the D&E family. Participation in the program provides a rewarding experience for the families and the students, in addition to building lifelong friendships.
Director of International Student Services Lowe Del Aviles says, “The friendships are not just limited to the students, it extends to the students’ families as well. Some host families visit their students in their home country. This has always been our goal — to make friendships around the world.”
For alumni and friends in the local area, please consider joining the Host Family Program by contacting Lowe Del Aviles at the College.
Family can be a powerful blessing in our lives. They make our journeys meaningful. Host families can experience those same benefits and lasting memories.
The journey continues….