Families in Tarrytown and its neighboring communities will have an opportunity this Thanksgiving to experience the spirit of the holiday with students from other lands and also introduce them to the traditional meal that marks the day.
The students are those attending the EF International Language School which is asking local residents who would like to invite a foreign student to share the Thanksgiving celebration at their homes to contact the school. The school sees the occasion as a means of having their students learn more about American culture. In turn, local families may acquire a better understanding of the student’s homeland.
Taking that single event situation somewhat further, EF also has established a new volunteer activity, the Community Mentor Program whereby residents and students have more of an ongoing association during the students’ six or nine month course in Tarrytown. It provides the means for these youngsters, who are from more than 40 countries, to become better acclimated to American life, according to the school, and, “is an excellent opportunity for intercultural exchange between you, your children and a student...”As EF describes prospective local volunteers, “Mentors should be welcoming, open-minded and patient people who acknowledge the challenges of living in a new country.”
The Community Mentor Program could involve a variety of activities for families and students including, but not limited to,...”dining and cooking at home with the family, local errands, church going, shopping, trips to local landmarks, family get-togethers, coffee and chit-chat, weekend trips and stays in your home.” The program also gives students a chance to improve their English. A school official states that, “A commitment of only a few hours per month is required, plus a short interview with our Host Family Coordinator.”
While about 10% of the school’s 700 students live off-campus with local families as part of EF’s Host Program, the remainder reside in the Tarrytown campus dormitories. EF has some 50 locations world-wide with a corps of teachers numbering 25,000.