September 9 – International Millikin students and Dennis Lab School families will get a chance to learn about each other’s culture this year after the formation of a new host family program.
Dennis Lab and Millikin University work together on a number of programs, and school officials are rolling out their newest program. The International Family Program is matching up 12 international students with 12 Dennis Lab families. Unlike many host family programs, the students will be staying on campus instead of at a Dennis family’s home.
Keith Creighton is a teacher at Dennis Lab and his family is participating in the host family program. He says he is excited for his family to get to know another culture.
“I think this is a chance for our daughter to meet somebody from another country and start to expand her world,” Creighton says. “That’s only part of it because I think I will learn so much from it too. I can’t wait to hear about Japan and what it is like to live there.”
The Creighton family’s student is from Japan while other families are paired up with students from South Korea, Taiwan, France, El Salvador, India, and Tajikistan. The students won’t live with the family, but the pairs will get together often for things like American holidays, community events, and the international students’ holidays, too.
Millikin has 55 International students enrolled currently. With hopes of expanding in the future, Millikin dean of student development Raphaella Prange says this program helps with 21st century learning.
“A big part of 21st century learning is the global classroom,” Prange explains. “Millikin and Dennis Lab are really trying to improve how they deliver on the global classroom. We thought this was a perfect opportunity to bring the world to Dennis Lab, and also allow our international students to learn about the American culture through Decatur Public Schools.”
Many international students don’t have means of transportation, making the west end a perfect place to start, Prange says. Millikin may expand the program to other parts of the city once they figure out how to get transportation set up.
Parag Sachdeva is a freshman at Millikin studying business entrepreneurship. This is his first time out of his country. Being the only international student from India, he says he wanted someone to connect with.
“It’s not easy being the only student from India,” Sachdeva says. “But I love to explore different places and am already learning so much. I can’t wait to meet my family and start to learn about the American culture.”
Several of the students and families met for the first time Thursday evening. They participated in ice breakers and chatted to get to know each other.
“This has been a long time coming,” Dennis Millikin Partnership Liaison Trevor May says. “I’m excited to see all of the cultural awareness happen for two semesters. This should be a great thing for the students and for the west end community.”
Time commitments are completely up to the host families and international students within program guidelines.
More information about the Dennis-Millikin Partnership can be found here.