FFIS News in 1984 – A Look Back in Time

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The Friendship Foundation for International Students (FFIS) has been matching University of Oregon students and scholars with local community members since 1950.  It has a rich and active history building friendships across cultures and borders.  This post takes a look back at what was happening with FFIS in a 1984 newsletter to members.

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FFIS News for May 2019

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The University of Oregon’s academic year is winding down and so are FFIS’ programs until September.  It’s time for an update on where we’ve been and where we’re headed in 2019-2020.

By now you’ve probably received an envelope in the mail from the Steering Committee containing a cover letter, the Falling Sky fundraising flyer, and five business cards.  If you didn’t and would like to get on our mailing list, send an e-mail to FFISEugene@gmail.com.


Annual Member Update Form: Action Requested!  We need to hear from you so that we can plan for matching volunteers with students for the Short-term Homestay and Conversation Friend programs.  Please complete our annual current member update form by May 15.


 Conversation Friend Program: We can always use more volunteers!  If you’re interested in learning more or participating, send an e-mail to FFIS.ConversationFriends@gmail.com.  Craig Biersdorff or June Brooks will be in touch with you to answer your questions.  Matching for the fall term will begin in October.


FFIS Homestay Program

Spring Homestay: In March, FFIS families hosted eleven students and one scholar with a wife and two children.  The feedback was overwhelmingly positive from host families and students.  Thank you to everyone who opened their hearts and homes to students far from home.  You can read about some of their experiences here and here.

Fall Homestay: It’s not too soon to start thinking about the Fall Homestay program which starts on Sept. 17.  We have to end student homestay registrations very early to ensure that we can match the students with available FFIS host families.  Please complete the member update form and encourage people you know to consider becoming a short-term host family (or Conversation Friend volunteer).


Welcome Picnic: Our annual Welcome Picnic will be on Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Alton Baker Park ramadas.  All FFIS members and incoming international students from the University of Oregon and Lane Community College are invited to attend.

The start time is moved up to 11:00 am because a Wine Dash fun run will be held in the open fields north of the ramadas that same day beginning at noon.  We’ll coordinate with the event organizer to help minimize any impact on our Picnic. The UO Duck and LCC Titan mascots will be there, as well as dignitaries from UO, LCC, Eugene, and Springfield.


Fundraising: FFIS is an all-volunteer organization and relies upon fundraising and donations to pay for the necessary expenses.  This Sunday, May 12, Falling Sky Brewery will donate 25% of your purchases to FFIS if you present them with the flyer that you received in the mail.  We appreciate your support!  Other fundraising opportunities can be viewed here.


Mark Your 2019 Calendar
Fall Homestay Matching – July, August, and early September
Fall Homestay – Starts Tuesday, Sept. 17
Welcome Picnic – Saturday, Sept. 21 at 11:00 am at the Alton Baker Park Ramadas
Conversation Friend Matching – October
Share Thanksgiving – November 28
Winter Homestay – Dec. 28 to Jan. 4


FFIS Steering Committee – Any member is welcome to attend our Steering Committee meetings.  We meet at 11:30 am on the first Wednesday of every month from Sept. through June in the second-floor conference room at Umpqua Bank, 675 Oak St., near the Hult Center and Lane County Courthouse. If you’d like to get on the agenda, send an e-mail in advance to FFIS President Matthew Fisher at ffiseugene@gmail.com.


 Thank you for offering your time and talents, your home and hospitality, to international students far from their home and families! You become like a second family to them and your heartfelt generosity fosters enormous goodwill. It makes a lasting impact on their lives. That in a nutshell is what FFIS’ mission is all about. Your comments, feedback, and suggestions are always welcome.


Your FFIS Steering Committee
Chair & Treasurer – Matthew Fisher (541-255-0626 or mfisher333@gmail.com)
Secretary – Suzanne Dassenko

Conversation Friend Coordinators:
June Brooks
 (541-914-7735 or ffis.conversationfriends@gmail.com)
Craig Biersdorff (541-517-7652 or ffis.conversationfriends@gmail.com)

Committee Chairs:
Fundraising – Deanna Brandt
Media – Rick Obst 
Volunteer Retention – Kent Henricksen and Roger Ludeman 
Volunteer Recruitment – Jean McClain

Steering Committee Members – Cindee Robertson, Paul Harvey, and Ray Slaughter.

 U of O Liaison – Becky Megerssa
LCC Liaison – Tomomi Kurosaki


If you want to touch the past, touch a rock.
If you want to touch the present, touch a flower.
If you want to touch the future, touch a life.

FFIS’ Very First Newsletter – Winter 1983

ffis news

The Friendship Foundation for International Students (FFIS) was founded in 1950 as the Foreign Student Friendship Foundation.  It has a long and rich history creating friendships with international students attending the University of Oregon.  Read about what we were up to in the winter of 1983 when our first newsletter was published and sent to our members.  You can view a pdf version here.

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FFIS News for January 2019

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A new year is here and it’s time to catch up on what’s new with FFIS:

Conversation Friend Program: Sixty-three of the 68 Conversation Friend program students have been matched! We can always use more volunteers now and in the future. If you’re interested in learning more or participating, send an e-mail to FFIS.ConversationFriends@gmail.com.

Winter Homestay: Twenty-six new international students enrolled for the winter term and three of those students experienced a short-term homestay with FFIS members.

The students aren’t the only ones who appreciate the warm hospitality provided by FFIS host families. Their parents are also very appreciative that their son or daughter has a second family providing a safe and secure environment in Lane County.

Read what a father from Turkey had to say about how FFIS’ homestay program helped to relieve his fears of sending his daughter to school so far away from her home – Turkish Father is Thankful to This FFIS Host Family for Taking Such Great Care of His Daughter!

Spring Homestay: It’s not too soon to start thinking about the Spring Homestay program. Six exchange students from Taiwan and Japan have already signed up for the homestay experience from March 23 to 30. The International Student Orientation begins on March 28. If you’re interested in hosting a student, send an e-mail to ffis@uoregon.edu.

2018 welcome picnic

Welcome Picnic: Our annual Welcome Picnic will be on Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Alton Baker Park ramadas. FFIS members and incoming international students from the University of Oregon and Lane Community College are invited to attend.  You can view pictures from the 2018 picnic here.

Mark Your 2019 Calendar
Spring Homestay – March 23 to 30
Fall Homestay Matching – July and August
Fall Homestay – Sept. 14 to 18
Welcome Picnic – Saturday, Sept. 21 at noon at the Alton Baker Park Ramadas
Conversation Friend Matching – October

FFIS Steering Committee – Thank you to Jean McClain, Kent Henricksen, and Ray Slaughter for recently joining our committee! Thank you also to Steve and Shirley Gilbreath, who retired in December after many years of service with FFIS and the Steering Committee!

FFIS is comprised entirely of local volunteers who believe in and support our mission. The Steering Committee meets at 11:30 am on the first Wednesday of every month from Sept. through June in the second-floor conference room at Umpqua Bank, 675 Oak St., near the Hult Center and Lane County Courthouse. Anyone is welcome to attend. If you’d like to get on the agenda, send an e-mail in advance to FFIS President Matthew Fisher at ffiseugene@gmail.com. We welcome anyone who wants to join the Committee and help to build our organization!

Thank you for offering your time and talents, your home and hospitality, to international students far from their home and families! You become like a second family to them and your heartfelt generosity fosters enormous goodwill. It makes a lasting impact on their lives. That in a nutshell is what FFIS’ mission is all about. Your comments, feedback, and suggestions are always welcome.

Your FFIS Steering Committee
Chair & Treasurer – Matthew Fisher (541-255-0626 or mfisher333@gmail.com)
Secretary – Suzanne Dassenko
Fundraising Committee Chair – Deanna Brandt
Media Committee ChairRick Obst

Conversation Friend Coordinators:
June Brooks (541-714-7735 or ffis.conversationfriends@gmail.com)
Craig Biersdorff (541-517-7652 or ffis.conversationfriends@gmail.com)

Steering Committee Members – Cindee Robertson, Jean McClain, Kent Henricksen, Paul Harvey, Ray Slaughter, Roger Ludeman.

U of O Liaison – Becky Megerssa
LCC Liaison – Tomomi Kurosaki

 

This Japanese Student Really Appreciated Her FFIS Conversation Friend

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The Conversation Friend Program is a unique opportunity for FFIS volunteers to connect with an international student during the student’s first year in Eugene. A student and a volunteer are matched on the basis of shared interests and meet for one hour a week in a public setting.

This is what a Japanese student wrote about her FFIS Conversation Friend experience:

I am really lucky because you are my conversation friend.  We talked about lots of things and you taught me various cultural differences.  I really like to go shopping with you.  And I can describe the store and shopping differences between here and Japan easily and clearly.

You tried to understand my poor English every time and it was great chance for me to practice English.  Recently, some people told me that I improved my English. I know you helped me to improve my English.  And I really appreciate that you introduced me to your family and friends.  It was really great time to see lots of new people. I really like your family, especially your cute nieces and nephews.

Interested in becoming an FFIS Conversation Friend (if you’re not already)?  Read “A Conversation About the Conversation Friend Program” and then contact Conversation Friend Coordinator Craig Biersdorff at FFIS.ConversationFriends@gmail.com or 541-517-7652.

FFIS News for November 2018

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Fall is here and the holidays are fast approaching. We’d like to update you on some of the FFIS activities the Steering Committee is working on.

Share Thanksgiving (Nov. 22)Thanksgiving is a very traditional American holiday. Thirty-five international students signed up to share this special day with an FFIS family. Seven families have offered to host 13 students, leaving 22 students hoping for the opportunity. Students usually feel more comfortable if another student is with them, so ideally FFIS families could invite two or more students. If you’re interested, complete the online application and we’ll be in touch.

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Thanksgiving Dinner at an FFIS Volunteer’s Home

International Thanksgiving Celebration (Nov. 18) – The international student community in Eugene and Springfield is invited to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner on Sunday, Nov. 18, beginning at 4:00 pm in the Morse Event Center on the Northwest Christian University campus near the UO. Last year they had several hundred students from UO, LCC, NWCU, and elsewhere attend. The organizers asked the FFIS Steering Committee if any of our members might be interested in volunteering to work as servers that afternoon. If you’re interested, or would like to learn more, send an e-mail to Karen Head at khead@nwcu.edu.

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The turkey is almost ready for hungry UO international students to eat!

Conversation Friend Program – Conversation Friends are still needed. Fifty-nine international students have applied and 48 have been matched to date. If you’re interested in volunteering, or know someone who might be, contact either June Brooks (541-914-7735) or Craig Biersdorff (541-517-7652) or send an e-mail to ffis.conversationfriends@gmail.com.

Winter Home Stay – The influx of incoming international students for the winter term is not large, but there may be a need for additional FFIS families to host prior to the start of classes in early January. If you’re interested, send an e-mail to ffis@uoregon.edu.

Fisherman's Market in Eugene, Oregon

Fundraising Opportunity @ Fisherman’s Market (Nov. 12, Veterans Day) – The second Monday of every month is when we have the chance to enjoy some great seafood and help FFIS financially. Print out the voucher below and bring it with you to Fisherman’s Market this Monday (11/12). Give it to them when you order something off of their menu, purchase some of their delicious frozen takeout meals to prepare at home, or buy some seafood to serve at Thanksgiving or another meal. Twenty percent of your purchase will come back to FFIS to help support our programs. Can’t make it on Nov. 12? Mark Dec. 10 on your calendar and make plans to visit Fisherman’s Market at 830 W. 7th Street then. Additional parking is available on the north side of 7th Street if needed.

Fisherman's Market FundraiserFundraising Opportunity @ Mosaic (Nov. 26 – Dec. 2) Susan Costa is an FFIS member and owner of Mosaic Fair Trade Collection. The store sources products from producers in developing countries who receive living wages and have safe working conditions with no child labor. KVAL aired a story recently about Susan and her fair trade store.

Mosaic Logo

During the week after Thanksgiving (Nov. 26 to Dec. 2), Susan is offering to donate 20% of her sales to FFIS. Stop by her store at 28 East Broadway. It’s just east of Voodoo Donuts and Kesey Square and she validates parking in the nearby city garages. Print out the  flyer below and present it when you do some Christmas shopping. Call the store at 541-344-4000 if you have any questions.

FFIS Fundraiser at Mosaic

Thank you to all of our volunteers who open their hearts and homes and provide a friendly environment for international students in our community!

Getting the Word Out About FFIS – Although FFIS has been around for almost 70 years, it’s not well known in our local community. Two FFIS volunteers recently let us know about potential opportunities to share what we do: 1) an Acts of Kindness segment on KMTR with news anchor Jody Reynosa, and 2) to give a brief presentation at a Eugene Chamber of Commerce Greeters meeting in 2019. We’re working on converting these opportunities into realities.

If you know of ways in which we can spread the word about FFIS and its programs, send an e-mail to ffiseugene@gmail.com. We’ll let you know when to tune in to KMTR as we learn more!

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FFIS’ Share Thanksgiving Program Creates Fond Memories (And Full Stomachs)

FFIS Steering Committee – FFIS is comprised entirely of local volunteers who believe in and support our mission. The Steering Committee meets at noon on the first Wednesday of every month from Sept. through June in the second-floor conference room at Umpqua Bank, 675 Oak St., near the downtown Hilton and Lane County Courthouse. Anyone is welcome to attend. If you’d like to get on the agenda, send an e-mail in advance to FFIS President Matthew Fisher at ffiseugene@gmail.com. We welcome anyone who wants to join the Committee and help to build our organization!

Thank you for offering your time and talents, your home and hospitality, to international students far from their home and families! You become like a second family to them and your heartfelt generosity fosters enormous goodwill. It makes a lasting impact on their lives. That in a nutshell is what FFIS’ mission is all about. Your comments, feedback, and suggestions are always welcome.

Your FFIS Steering Committee

Chair & TreasurerMatthew Fisher (541-255-0626 or mfisher333@gmail.com)
SecretarySuzanne Dassenko

Conversation Friend Coordinators:
June Brooks (541-714-7735 or ffisconversationfriends@gmail.com)
Craig Biersdorff (541-517-7652 or ffisconversationfriends@gmail.com)

Steering Committee MembersCindee Robertson, Deanna Brandt, Paul Harvey, Rick Obst, Roger Ludeman, and Steve Gilbreath

U of O LiaisonBecky Megerssa
LCC LiaisonTomomi Kurosaki