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Drexel University International Pen Pal Program

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Amanda Tarczynski

on 15 July 2013

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Transcript of Drexel University International Pen Pal Program

Drexel University
Pen Pal Program

What is the Drexel International Pen Pal Program?
The DU International Pen Pal Program is an opportunity for current Drexel students to meet incoming international students and offer helpful advice about Drexel, Philadelphia, and American culture.
Tips for Great Cross-Cultural Communication
1. Know yourself and your own cultural context
Not only does each individual have a unique frame of reference, but cultures also have frames of reference that come out of their shared experiences.
It's important to remember this when interacting across cultures because even small differences in communication style can lead to great misunderstandings.
2. Respect English language barriers
Avoid double negatives, slang, sports analogies, and jargon.
Explain concepts multiple ways and include “nice to know”, not just “need to know”, information.

for Participants
*Communicate with your pen pal via email or Skype prior to their arrival. Ideally, you should contact your pen pal at least five times during the summer.

* Some students can be more social and proactive about keeping in touch than others. If your pen pal is unresponsive, check in with them from time to time and let it be known that you’re there to help. Don’t take their unresponsiveness personal!

*IMPORTANT: The majority of incoming international students will be moving into the residence halls on Monday, September 16, 2013 from 6 to 8pm. After the move-in, International Students & Scholars Services office will host a reception for the new students and participating pen pals. ALL Pen Pal participants are expected to attend the Welcome Dinner that night at 8pm (location TBA). This is a great opportunity for you to meet the person you’ve been corresponding with throughout the summer, and could be the beginning of a great friendship.
* Help your pen pal navigate Drexel campus over the first few days.
Writing Tips II
Write about what you do with your free time. Something as simple as playing basketball or going to the Rec Center might be exciting to your pen friend, and gives them an idea of what the typical Drexel student is like. Also, share your passions with your pen pal. This will help him to have a better understanding of what makes you tick, and it will help your friendship grow.
Ask your pen pal if they have any specific questions about Drexel or Philly. This incoming student has probably never visited Drexel and this is his/her first opportunity to speak with a current Drexel student. Let them know that you are there to help them learn more about Drexel and Philly before they arrive, and that you hope to become friends once they are on campus.

Writing Tips
Drawing a blank on what to write?
To start, remind yourself that all you are doing is introducing yourself and Drexel to your pen pal. Below are a few examples of things you could discuss in your first letter.

Firstly, introduce yourself to your pen friend. Tell them how long you’ve studied at Drexel, what you study and what you like about studying at Drexel University and living in Philadelphia. Talk about your family and friends.
Write about what it is like to live in Philadelphia. Mention the size of it, as well as any interesting tourist attractions and historical facts you may like. You can also talk about the weather in Philly, since your pen friend probably lives quite far away and is unfamiliar with the climate here.
Act authentically
Try to see the world from others' perspectives and not forcing your ways on them while being true to yourself and your ways.

Don't spring surprises
Putting people on the spot or addressing a topic that someone is not prepared to answer will erode trust and credibility. You need to know exactly what you want to achieve in a conversation. Think and organize your thoughts before you proceed.

Final thought: When presented with a map and asked “Where is the center of the world,” most people point to where they are located.
More Communication Tips
Full transcript