International students studying at the University of Regina spend the holiday season thousands of miles from home. This year - to beat the winter blues - UR International launched a program encouraging University employees to host international students for the holidays.
Between December 24 and January 2, employees will bring international students into their homes to participate in holiday activities.
"I think it's important to engage my family in learning about other cultures and traditions," says University employee Christall Beaudry, who volunteered for the first "Host an International Student" event.
"I hope that they meet some new friends here in Canada. I also hope that they walk away with a feeling of warmth and generosity over the holiday season, which is what Canadians are known for," says Beaudry, who will be matched with a student through UR International.
Some employees plan to have international students over for dinner, to play board games or to sing carols. International students are excited for the opportunity to interact with and communicate with Canadians.
"This is an opportunity for me to get to know Saskatchewan better and get to know what Canada has to offer," says Precious Onungwe, a second-year engineering student from Nigeria.
Onungwe says he is happy this holiday season is a little warmer than most in Regina. "My last winter wasn't too bad because I spent it around the University's residence. I didn't go outside too much," he said with a chuckle.
This year, though, host families can plan outdoor activities or just invite students into their homes for a cup of hot chocolate. Participants can choose to host a student, or students, for a few hours or a day.
For more information about the program, contact UR International at (306) 585-5082.