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Thanksgiving Homestay seeks volunteers

Families sought to host international students for holiday

KU's International Student and Scholar Services office is seeking interested families to participate in the Betty Grimwood Thanksgiving Homestay Program. Area families are needed to host one or more international students from Tuesday evening, Nov. 21, to Sunday afternoon, Nov. 26. Families are also needed Thursday only to provide Thanksgiving dinner to one or more international students. The program provides the students an opportunity to experience the Thanksgiving holiday with an American family.

This marks the 52nd year Kansas and Kansas City-area families will celebrate Thanksgiving with international student guests from KU. The homestay program was named in honor of the late Betty Grimwood, a Burns resident who helped to organize Homestay visits in Burns, about 60 miles northeast of Wichita, from 1954 through 1998. Following her death in May 1999, friends and relatives of Grimwood continued the Burns Thanksgiving community tradition of inviting international students from KU for a weekend visit.

Last year, 24 families and 31 students participated in the program. This semester, 1,579 international students are enrolled at KU from 110 countries. The 10 countries with the greatest number of students are:

  • China (including Hong Kong and Macau), 229
  • India, 204
  • Korea, Republic of, 179
  • Saudi Arabia, 140
  • Japan, 80
  • Taiwan, 67
  • Germany, 33
  • Canada, 30
  • Brazil, 23
  • Russian Federation, 21

Areas from where families have participated in the past include Baldwin City, Basehor, Burlington, Burns, Chanute, Desoto, Drexel, Mo., El Dorado Springs, Mo., Eudora, Eureka, Florissant, M., Garnett, Girard, Gladstone, Grandview, Mo., Hardin, Herington, Independence, Kansas City, Lawrence, Leavenworth, Leawood, Lecompton, Lenexa, Linwood, Lyons, Madison, Marian, Merriam, Newton, Olathe, Overbrook, Overland Park, Peabody, Prairie Village, Prarie, Roeland Park, St. Louis, Mo., Sedgwick, Shawnee, Silver Lake, Tonganoxie, Topeka, Valley Falls, Westwood, White Water and Wichita.

To apply for the program, families and students can contact Viviana Yaluk, program coordinator, KU International Student and Scholar Services, 864-3617, or e-mail her at

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