Leaving a void

Closure of the Lewis-Clark State College Foreign Student Intensive English program is a huge social and economic loss to the Lewiston community.

Part of the program was to place students with a host family to embrace not only the English language to prepare the foreign student to enter a college of his choice but also to experience an American family life.

During 10 years, we hosted 35 foreign students as a host family. We hosted students from France, Spain, Jordan, Colombia, South Korea, Japan and Thailand. Many have returned to Lewiston for visits with their families. The Intensive English program not only prepared the students to enter college, it gave them an American experience in small-town America. ...

Big city and colleges could never give the American experience that Lewiston and LCSC provided.

The local economic benefit went beyond tuitions and books. Many purchased autos, computers, traveled via airline, rented cars, ate at local restaurants and partook in local events. Prior to 9/11, the foreign student college programs were the second largest return of U.S. dollars. Lewiston was a beneficiary of those exchange dollars.

On a per annum basis, 100 students during a 12-month period would bring in more than $2 million to the Lewiston economic base.

As Kathleen Grussing said in her Feb. 1 letter, closure of the LCSC Institute of Intensive English goes beyond closing the foreign student program. It leaves a void of an American community experience for foreign students and community economic impact.

Douglas and Mary Ellen Black

Lewiston

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