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Community Friends of International Students at the Claremont Colleges Receives $5,000 Grant

I-Place holds an international fair every spring.

I-Place holds an international fair every spring.

Community Friends of International Students (CFIS) at the Claremont Colleges has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the UPS Foundation. The grant will be used for buying computer hardware and software for students with financial need, supporting efforts to assist trailing spouses and families with English language learning, and underwriting cultural activities and field trips for international students.

In 2011-12, there were 807 international students enrolled in the Claremont Colleges, including 89 enrolled at Pomona College. The students come from 73 countries and make up approximately 12 percent of the Colleges’ student body. Countries represented by the largest numbers of students are China, India, South Korea, Thailand and Japan. Other represented countries included Benin, the Ivory Coast, Mongolia, Sudan and Yemen.

CFIS arranges home stays for 150-170 freshmen and new graduate students each year, with students staying with their host families from a few days to a month. The host families also assist students with setting up bank accounts, finding on-campus employment, shopping and transportation. CFIS also provides a small conversation groups, “Conversation Partners,” to assist families with English learning and coordinates cultural activity field trips.

Support from Community Friends has made a big difference for Rodrigo Ranero, PO ’14 from Guatemala. “My biggest worry upon arriving in the US was…that adapting to a new way of life in a different culture would be very challenging, especially during the first few weeks. However, my transition was not as abrupt as foreseen…. I stayed with a host family for the duration of International Orientation (hosted by International Place), and their support in patiently guiding me through the process of moving into college as an international student was key in helping me adapt quickly to life at Pomona. I keep in touch with my host family to this day, and they continue to be a supportive part of my life in college. Furthermore, my involvement with the vibrant international community at the Claremont Colleges is an essential part of my social life, and it has been made possible largely by the many events sponsored by Community Friends and I-Place. For instance, a Fall Break trip to Santa Catalina in 2010 was one of the highlights of my freshman year.”

CFIS, a 501-c-3 organization, is dedicated to supporting the international students of the Claremont Colleges, to increase student diversity and multicultural awareness, and to improve U.S. students’ understanding of the international view of the U.S., and the international view of the United States as the international students return to their home countries.

The UPS Foundation provides small grants to local nonprofit organizations where UPS employees volunteer. UPS employees are encouraged to recommend nonprofit organizations in critical need of a charitable donation of grant. In 2012, the Foundation’s focus areas are environmental sustainability, nonprofit effectiveness and encouraging diversity and community safety.

The Claremont Colleges is a consortium of five independent, undergraduate colleges (Pomona, Scripps, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd and Pitzer) and two graduate institutions (Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute).

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