Most volunteers with the Friendship Foundation for International Students (FFIS) have experienced life overseas and enjoy interacting with people from other countries. That’s certainly the case with Cindee Robertson. She spent ten years as a teacher in Nepal, Romania, and Tunisia before returning to Eugene to retire in 2014. Working with international students is near and dear to her heart.
Cindee graduated from the University of Oregon with an MS in Special Education and did doctorate work at Washington State University. She was a regular education teacher, special education teacher, and Special Education Director in Washington and Oregon before working overseas.
FFIS’ programs provided Cindee with the opportunity to meet and befriend international students far from home. Not only did she volunteer to be a Conversation Friend, she also joined the Steering Committee. Her insights, commitment and contributions to the organization have been invaluable.
“Helping international students is so rewarding and makes me feel as though we are truly a global community when we volunteer with FFIS,” said Cindee. “Having lived abroad, I know how difficult it is to be away from family and the challenges of acculturation.”
Becoming “family” to someone from a different country and culture is seemingly part of her DNA. She helped a 16-year-old girl from Nepal come to America. Three years later she helped the girl’s mother and younger sister come. Those two girls are now American citizens and college graduates. They consider Cindee to be their second Mom and a family member.
FFIS can always use more volunteers like Cindee to open their hearts and homes to international students far from home. The loving relationships formed last well beyond when the students return to their country. Volunteers end up with many “sons” and “daughters” living throughout the world.
“Please consider doing a little or volunteer to do even more, says Cindee. “It is a wonderful, forever experience.”