|November 22, 2006
From: Laura Harris, Director of Media Relations
(318) 342-5447, firstname.lastname@example.org
ULM's Bledsoe opens home to international students
In past years, area churches have hosted University of Louisiana at Monroe international students for Thanksgiving dinner. This year ULM's Eric Bledsoe, chemistry, and his wife Kim are opening their home to about 10 international students for a Thanksgiving feast, which will include a 22-pound smoked Turkey, pumpkin pie, and vegetarian dishes.
Their kindness means a lot to the students, said Mara Loeb, director of international student programs. "We have students who have circled the globe to come to ULM, leaving everyone and everything familiar behind. Kim and Eric have opened their hearts as well as their home in a way that makes a world of difference to these young people."
Eric, a chemistry department stockroom manager and laboratory coordinator, first met international students from India and Sri Lanka in a graduate-level chemistry class.
"I have wanted to share the holidays with internationals that didn't have a place to go during the holidays. This is really the first time that I have been able to hold something for our country's guests," he said. Kim, a seasoned international traveler, knows what it's like to be away from home on the holidays.
"It's difficult when you don't know anyone. The way to be immersed in another culture is to go into a home, rather than a hotel. That's what we're trying to do for these students. I want to return the hospitality that was shown to me."
The couple is also planning to host a Christmas feast, which will be a "true Cajun meal" for international students in December.