Host & mentor opportunities available

An international connection for you?
By UW-Richland

Opportunities are available for local people interested in serving as host families for University of Wisconsin-Richland international students during the coming academic year, though fewer than in past years. More opportunities are available for those who wish to be mentors.

“This is a change,” said UW-Richland international program coordinator Emery Wontor. “For 2014-2015, we have more independent international students. They will stay with mentors when they first arrive in mid-August and while they participate in orientation. Once classes begin, they expect to move to student housing. The number of international students coming to UW-Richland through the Youth for Understanding program, which involves host family connections, is fewer this fall.” Because of this, those interested in hosting an international student may want to inquire as soon as possible.

Of the 13 UW Colleges freshman/sophomore campuses across the state, the University of Wisconsin-Richland attracts the greatest number of international students Wontor said. “This enhances the cosmopolitan atmosphere on campus and in our community.”  

Daesung, 25, from South Korea, has completed a year of university studies and his military service. As a member of the Republic of Korea Marine Corps, he served as a translator while working with a team of US Marines, using English skills he gained as a high school exchange student in the USA, and he earned airborne certification. His younger brother was a YFU student in the USA; his father, a chemical engineer manages his own company; his mother, he notes, is very athletic and had a career as a kindergarten teacher. The family also includes a Schnauzer who likes to go climbing with Daesung and his family.

Kaziwa, 19, from Switzerland, is described by a friend as a tornado of energy and is noted for her sense of humor. She plays basketball, looks forward to courses in the arts, political science and psychology, enjoys theatre and is considering participation in a theatre production while she’s in the USA. She writes that a host family experience is important to her for learning American culture and improving her command of English.

Lucia, 18, from the South American nation of Uruguay, looks forward to a host family experience in the USA inspired by her mother’s study abroad host family experience as a college student. Lucia plans a major in civil engineering and plans to take environmental and art courses. She plays drums and enjoys a game of tennis. Italian language and culture are among her interests. Both of her parents are dentists.

Independent students, who will stay with their mentors as they make the transition in mid-to-late August, include young men and women from China, The Gambia, Thailand and South Korea.

  • Ang, from China, loves classic American movies, plays basketball, and notes that he looks forward to friends and happiness at UW-Richland.
  • JiWon, from South Korea, attended high school for three years in the USA. She’s considering a major in either landscape architecture or graphic design. She enjoys art, especially drawing.
  • Ke, from China, nicknamed Cola, describes herself as quiet. She’s lived in Wisconsin for a year and would be willing to show her mentor how to use chopsticks.
  • Mingchen, from China, describes himself as shy. From his parents, both IT workers, he’s gained an interest in technology. He practices Tai Chi and enjoys yoga.
  • Modoul, from The Gambia in West Africa, is interested in environmental and public health and enjoys playing soccer.
  • Saruda and Dechathorn (nicknamed Coke) are brother and sister, from Thailand, who hope for a mentor who’d be willing to host them both. Saruda writes that she looks forward to enjoying Richland area landscapes and Coke is interested in computers, finance, business and golf.
  • Yijia, from China, describes herself as a bit introverted and a pet lover.

The students all speak English, have their own health insurance and spending money. To learn more about YFU, visit online or ask about the program by contacting the UW-Richland international programs office. Find out more about hosting. Get answers to your questions. Contact UW-Richland host family coordinator Colleen Halverson by email at or by phone at (608) 475-9665.



Dorothy Thompson
608.647.6186, ext. 231