BY COURTNEY GALLAGHER
This Thanksgiving and winter break, Molly Dwyer and Suravi Shrestha traveled to St. Louis, Mo. , and Kathmandu, Nepal , as participants in Westminster’s Take-A-Friend-Home program. After visiting each other’s family and sharing their cultures with one another, the pair says they highly recommend the program to all students.
“I would absolutely, 100 percent, recommend participating in Westminster’s Take-A-Friend-Home program,” said Dwyer. “The fact that our college has a program such as Take-A-Friend-Home is unbelievable, and I am so blessed that I was able to be a part of this life-changing experience.”
The program funds round-trip airfare and medical insurance to allow students to be taken home by an international friend and then return the favor, as the team spends time in each other’s home town and country, according to the Churchill Institute for Global Engagement.
Dwyer spent four weeks in Nepal over winter break. Her favorite part of the experience was creating new friendships and meeting Shrestha’s family and friends. “Having Molly in Nepal was like adding a new member to my family,” said Shrestha about her experience hosting Dwyer.
Over Thanksgiving break, Shrestha stayed with Dwyer and her family in St. Louis. “My favorite memory of the break would be the Thanksgiving dinner with Molly’s entire family,” said Shrestha. “It was my first time attending an actual family gathering in the United States and I loved every part of it.” “Through this program, you not only learn about your friend’s culture but you will also start paying attention to your own,” said Shrestha. “Students must realize that this program is unique to Westminster and take advantage of it.”
Dwyer and Shrestha, who have been friends since meeting their freshmen year, say the experience brought them even closer and that they will never forget their time spent with each other thanks to the opportunity.
Applications for the 2015 Take a Friend Home program will be accepted by the Churchill Institute for Global Engagement beginning Jan. 21, and ending Feb. 16.