Host UK offers an opportunity for Members of the Asia-Pacific Technology Network to contribute to the education, career aspirations and well-being of young Asians studying at British universities, and at the same time to learn more about the culture and challenges facing the various nations.
HOST UK (www.hostuk.org) has existed for 20 years and its aim is to promote international understanding by enabling international students undertaking courses of study at British universities to spend a day, a weekend or 2-3 days over Christmas in a British home. Thousands of Asian students have benefited from this experience over the years. It has enabled students to escape from their institutional ghetto and meet 'real' British people, practise their English and be exposed to British culture and way of life, all in a friendly environment. It is a two-way experience - British people learn about the country of origin, life and culture of the student. Feedback is phenomenal, and we are proud that we have made a difference to so many people's lives.
How can APTN members become involved? There are two ways:
1. Members might encourage employees to act as occasional hosts. If a UK company is doing business with, for example, a Chinese or Korean company, employees might benefit from getting to know a student from those countries and learning a little about how they think, as well as their qualifications and aspirations. This is good for business and in addition gives add-on value to the student’s overall experience in UK. A short visit can transform a student’s attitude to doing business with UK companies. And it is fun!
2. HOST faces increasing funding challenges. Hosts who invite students to their home are not paid, but the administration of the organisation necessitates an office and a paid staff of five-six people. APTN members could sponsor Asian students going on a HOST visit. For example, a donation of £5,000 would cover the costs of around 100 visits for Chinese students.
Susie Rajagopal, Chief Operating Officer, HOST. Susie.Rajagopal@hostuk.org
Margaret Hancox, Trustee, HOST Margaret@margarethancox.freeserve.co.uk