New Friends for a New Year

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February 3, 2015

Want a New Year’s Resolution that will be easy to keep?   Consider resolving to make a new friend this year, a friend from a country that is different from your own. International House can help!DSC03196

Make plans to attend the “Get to Know You” potluck lunch on January 7 offered by Doorways, our monthly social group for international women, or come hear retired Winthrop University professor (and member of our French Conversation Hour) Roger Baumgarte speak about his book, “Friends Beyond Borders”, on January 13. (There is more info on these events in this newsletter issue.) Check out one of our free Conversation Hours. This is a great way to make a new friend AND make good on your resolution from last year to practice a new language!

Or how about taking the plunge and hosting one of our international visitors?  It is absolutely one of the best options for exploring new cultures and friendships without leaving home!  After hosting these delightful folks in my spare bedroom for a few days over the past 4 years, I am grateful to still be in touch with Gauhar (Kazakhstan), Hina (Pakistan), Gia (Georgia), Kosalai (Sri Lanka), Naheed (Bangladesh), Sylvana, and Shokh (Iraq).  We enjoyed cooking together, seeing the Charlotte sights, and chatting into the evening about topics ranging from family to fashion, politics to pets, and social media to soccer.  I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to get to know these inspirational leaders who offer me different ways of viewing this remarkable world that we share.

It is also easy to make an international friend by volunteering to be a tutor for someone learning English or attending our Sunday citizenship classes.  This is a rewarding way to not only make a difference in someone’s life but also learn about the rich cultural diversity that makes Charlotte an increasingly global city.

Woodrow Wilson said: “Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.”  Why not resolve to make a new international friend in 2015?  It is a small but effective way to help hold this fragile world together!

Denise Cumbee Long
Executive Director, International House