International Military Student Office seeks ambassadors Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 May 2014
By Derek Gean
Community editor
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Did you know that for some cultures, it is a little surprising that most American’s have middle names?

That was one of the facts German Military Police Sgt. 1st Class Chris Braun learned about Americans when he decided to take part in the Field Studies Program sponsored by the International Military Student Office here on Fort Leonard Wood. Students who take part in the program are paired with Americans who serve as friendship ambassadors.
Virgie Mahan, center, is pictured entertaining a Fort Leonard Wood Soldier and an international student. Spc. Richard Judd, left, assists the International Committee with transportation for allied military students who are in the United States for training. Lt. Juan Sbarra, right, an engineer officer from Uruguay, is at Fort Leonard Wood for the Captainís Career Course. Courtesy photo

Braun, whose FSP friendship ambassadors are Ron and Michelle Simpson, is currently attending the Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent Course at the U.S. Army Military Police School.

“We had the luck to meet the Simpson Family and I’m very thankful for that,” Braun said.

“They live on a farm near the east gate of Fort Leonard Wood. They invited us to visit their farm and see how they live. I’m from Hamburg ... the second biggest city in Germany. So I’m used to urban regions and for me it was interesting to see how it is to live on a farm, ‘away from civilization’ and to see a ‘normal’ American house,” he said.

The IMSO is looking for more people to become Friendship Ambassadors for the international students at Fort Leonard Wood.

According to Kay Lowder, Field Studies program assistant, there are typically between 65 and 105 international students. 
“We would love to have a Friendship Ambassador for each one,” Lowder said.

“It is a great opportunity to meet new people, learn about other countries, establish lasting friendships and have a lot of fun.”
Ambassadors can invite international students to join them for
normal activities.

“Sports events, shopping, fishing, barbeques, dinner at home — the possibilities are endless,” Lowder said.
International military students do not live with the friendship ambassador; the ambassador is not required to pay for any meals or activities, and they are free to do as much or as little with the international military student as they want.  We ask for at least one activity a month.  And the most important thing ... have fun,” she said.
Braun said after visiting the Simpsons’ farm, they carried them on a tour of the surrounding region.

“We finally arrived at the Piney River Brewery in Bucyrus, Texas County. It was a great day and it was very interesting to meet some local residents. The Simpsons are very nice people and they really looked after us well. The next event planned is to go a stadium and watch a game of baseball together,” Braun said.
Kay York, a friendship ambassador, said meeting international students has been a great way for her to learn about other cultures. 
“The experience caused me to want to spend more time with students,” York said.

“Despite our differences we are so much alike in so many different ways,” she said. York said she encourages everyone to take part in the program.
“It enriches their lives in ways they can’t imagine. You get to become … friends for life.”
For more information on volunteering as a friendship ambassador, call the International Military Student Office at 563.8015.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 May 2014 )