Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Applied for a PAL

Before you start wondering if my social life has dwendled to such a place that would necesitate me "applying" for friends, let me explain... PALS is a program offered by the International Office at the University of Texas, Austin.

PALS stands for:
Partnerships to

The program was started in 1993 to introduce international students to American students (now evolved to include any Austinite) for the purpose of practicing language. It has now evolved to be not just a language practice program, but also a culture sharing opportunity for both parties. You apply (online or in personal at the International Office), you get in their system, they match you with an international student, and then whammo-- you have a PAL. You can even request a PAL from specific countries or native languages. You meet with your PAL once a week at the time yall choose, the place yall choose, to do the activity yall choose. That's it.

It is a fabulous way to WELCOME one of the almost 4300 undergraduate international or 7250 graduate international students that come to UT each year. Statistics indicate that vast majority (if someone can find the stat, post it in the comments) of international students never step foot inside an American home-- EVER-- during their time in the states. To me, that is a sad and missed opportunity to love on strangers in this foreign land we call home.

If you live in Austin and want a PAL, I highly recommend you signing up. It's easy. It's fun. And the semester starts around the corner. They will begin matching students the first week of September. Check out their website, , for more information. If that doesn't work, try this:

No comments: