American English Institute to host international student leaders

International student outside Lillis Hall

The University of Oregon’s American English Institute will join an international nonprofit to offer a U.S. Department of State program that introduces international undergraduate students to America.

The institute will host 22 European university students on campus from June 18 to July 16 for the program, known as Study of the U.S. Institutes. The UO is one of only three institutions chosen by the state department to host European students this year on topics of social entrepreneurship, civic engagement or environmental issues. The UO group will delve into the environment.

The American English Institute is working with the human development organization FHI 360 to host the students in Eugene. Students come from 17 different countries and have diverse majors, from philosophy and law to biotechnology and architecture.

The European participants represent underserved populations in their country. They come from low-income families or remote rural areas and are immigrants, refugees, religious or ethnic minorities, or LGBTQ youth.

Selection for the program is highly competitive. Undergraduate students are chosen for high academic achievement and leadership qualities as well as a specific interest in a particular area of study and their promise as future leaders in their countries.

During their time at UO, students will have the opportunity to explore major issues and themes in the environment, learning about those that most affect the people of Oregon and sharing issues important to them. They will engage in activities that will develop their leadership skills and return to their countries with plans they are encouraged to implement.

One student, an immigrant from the West Indies to France, is determined to fight the effects global warming is having on his island. Another student, from the 10th most polluted city in Russia, is interested in learning about green construction methods and sustainable urban design.

Several public events will be held where the UO community can speak with the participants. Students will be telling their stories at a “Human Library” event at Whirled Pies Downtown, 199 W. Eighth Ave., from 6 to 8 p.m. July 1.  

Students also will be presenting their capstone projects at a farewell event and reception in the Agate Hall auditorium from 4 to 7 p.m. July 14.

—By Lea Adamovic, University Communications intern