The Porch Light Program is an initiative organized by members of the London community in cooperation with the International and Exchange Student Centre at Western
What is porch light?
In every culture, there is a place in one’s home of welcoming and gathering. Historically in
Traditionally, when the porch light was on, it meant the home owner was at home and was providing a light to show the way up to their porch and inviting people in. We would like to extend this feeling of welcome to other women through this traditional concept of the ”porch light”.
The Porch Light Program
The Porch Light Program provides new international women students (undergraduate and graduate) with the opportunity to connect with women living in the London area for one afternoon per month for 6 months. The London women (Porch Light Community Hosts) can be sisters, colleagues, neighbours or friends who team up to host a small group of female international students in their homes each month. The goal of the program is to help new international women students through the transition period of adjusting to their new life at Western and in Canada. Student participants share conversation, practice English (if needed), and have fun talking and doing activities together (e.g. Canadian seasonal events, making homemade Canadian recipes, etc.) with their hosts. The Porch Light Program provides our new international women the experience of a ‘home away from home”, and the chance to connect and make friends with other international students in the program. The gatherings are held once a month, from approximately 2:00 p.m. until the early evening (5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.), October through March, in the home of one of the Community Hosts.
*** See the bottom of this page for quotes from last year's student participants.
Who are the Porch Light Community Hosts?
The Porch Light Community Hosts are women who live in the London and area community who are aware of and understand the challenges of adjusting to life in Canada. Because of this, they are interested in opening their homes to other women who are international students so that they can experience a "home away from home."
Participating in the Program:
Porch Light was cofounded in 2007 by our community partners Kem Murch & Heni Ritchie and the International and Exchange Student Centre. The program currently has a small capacity and therefore can only be able to accommodate a small group of women. As a result, not everyone who applies for the program will be able to participate. In addition, only individuals who can commit to attending one Sunday per month will be considered for the program. We hope to be able to expand the program in the near future.
The Porch Light Program will be meeting on the following dates from approximately 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.during the 2012-2013 academic year::
October 21, November 11, December 2,
January 20, February 10, March 2 (Potluck Lunch on Campus), March 24
*Please note that all dates are subject to change, however once groups are assigned you will receive an updated schedule. Some groups may meet on Saturday rather than Sunday*
There is no cost to participate in this program. Transportation from Western to the Porch Light hosts’ home will be provided for you, free of charge.
Applying for the Program:
Thank you for your interest in the program. The application deadline for the 2012-2013 academic year has passed.
If you submitted an application in September 2012, you will be contacted in early October.
Quotes from the 2012-2013 Porch Light Participants:
“The program helped me quickly adapt to the life here in Canada and the kind hostesses would always give us advice for all the difficulty we encounter here. It gave me a feeling of HOME and I made a lot of friends”
“They are really really great hostesses. They are warm-hearted, helpful, kind and treat us well. They are just like our grandmother”
“Every month when we go to the meeting we would share with each other what we have been up to in that month and the happy things and difficulties we encounter. Then I would know that I was not the only one who got frustrated. We would discuss the problems we have and try to figure out how to resolve it as well as encourage each other. This was a really a great benefit for me”
“very helpful. talking to group members is a wonderful experience. it help me releasing pressure. it's very relax. And it makes me feeling at home. It's really happy”
“It was such a great opportunity to know about Canadian home living styles, canadian culture and event celebrations. It was also a time to get to know many friends and have fun together.”
“I got to know about festivals in Canada and culture of other countries like China and Bangladesh”
“a new friend is always better! Helps a lot”
“it gave me a chance to meet more international student from different places”
"doing things together and sharing about one another's lives and most importantly is the feeling like a part of the family(sense of belongings)”
“feeling of being home and that knowing someone here in Canada actually do remembers you and cares about you!”
“I gain some friendship and I gain a warmth feeling from all the hosts!”
“If I did not participate in this program, I would not get a chance to get into a local host's home and get to know them. Culture sharing and understanding is an essential part of university. In that aspect, I was helped a lot”
“every moment I felt welcomed. They were very concerned about what was going on with each other and sincerely gave some suggestion if any of us was caught in trouble”
Last Updated: October 2, 2012
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All information disclosed by students to IESC will be kept confidential. It will not be shared with family, university staff, course instructors, or others without written permission and will not become part of academic records.
The International and Exchange Student Centre is experienced in working with diverse populations.