Americans invite international students to have dinner at their homes


Maryann Vest and Steve Vest having dinner with international students at their house on Sept. 29.
Photo by Sandy Leegumjorn


“Dinner with Americans,” hosted by American volunteers from International Student Fellowship, brings international students to local homes for dinner.

The volunteers combined food and fun for international students from around the world. The volunteers and students exchanged knowledge and learned about each other over dinner.

Dinner with Americans started in 2010 when the International Student Fellowship was formed and will be held every semester for international students in Lindenwood.

“I want the international students to know they are cared for when they are so far from home,” Eileen Schulte, a volunteer of International Student Fellowship, said.

There were a total of six local households hosting dinner. They pick the students up from Lindenwood and take them to their houses and there they had dinner, played games and shared stories to get to know each other.

Dinner with Americans allows international students to bond with their fellow American classmates and neighbors.
Photo by Sandy Leegumjorn.

Asuka Oka, a student from Japan, said she has gone to Dinner with Americans every semester since she arrived in the United States because she likes to meet new people.

“I met my best friend through Dinner with Americans,” Oka said. “This event means a lot to me.”

Amy Cordoba, a student from Panama, said the volunteers treat them as if they were part of their family which is why she signs up for Dinner with Americans every semester.

“It’s nice to know you have a family here,” Cordoba said. “I also learned new things about Americans and how they prepare dinner, which is really different from how Panamanians do.”

Cordoba said back in Panama, her mom would spice all the foods. However, here in the U.S., they always keep the food simple and allow people to spice their own foods the way they like.

The volunteers and the international students get to teach each other about their unique cultures.

“Hosting the dinner makes me know that I have so much more to learn about this world, especially from the international students’ perspectives,” Schulte said. “It’s not only us [Americans] that are teaching them about our culture, but we are both learning together.”

International students can join this event through Facebook and Involve U.