Monday, June 3, 2013

Blacksburg company helps international students find a home away from home

Mary Ann Weimer Poole
While earning her master’s degree in architecture from Virginia Tech, Mary Ann Weimer Poole studied ways to turn houses into homes. In a way, she’s still doing that, as owner of Blacksburg Homestay. Poole, this month's featured community partner on the Outreach and International Affairs website, finds local places where international students and visiting scholars can call home while studying at the Language and Culture Institute.

The idea for Blacksburg Homestay came to Poole in 2003 after she’d agreed to host a South Korean student who was a friend of a friend. She transformed the home office in her Blacksburg home into a bedroom, and soon Kangsub Ahn had a place to live.

“It was unusual at first to host a student, but I engaged and met his friends and invited more students informally into my home,” Poole says on her website. Within a year, she had six students living with her.

“It was a riot,” she says. “I had makeshift stuff everywhere for these kids.”

Click here to read more about Blacksburg Homestay.

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