Developing a Cross-Cultural Network – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Developing a Cross-Cultural Network

The One-on-One Friendship Club at HWS is an English mentoring program for students in Indonesia that helps learners improve their language skills and develop cross-cultural connections.

“English is so interesting, and because I study it, I can speak to more people in the world,” says Yorina Bansa, a student in Indonesia who joined the One-on-One Friendship Club in order to practice her English language skills. The club was started by Professor of Religious Studies Etin Anwar to connect HWS mentors with primary, secondary and college students, as well as adult learners, in Indonesia. “I have done other programs before, but with this program, it is easier for me to understand my tutors. For us, it is so meaningful and beneficial.”

The One-on-One Friendship Club at HWS is an English mentoring program that helps students improve their academic skills and develop cross-cultural connections. By developing a cross-cultural network, students become global thinkers and leaders. Sessions often include discussion topics related to social justice.

HWS students volunteer on Friday nights to tutor a group of students of all ages from Indonesia, where it is Saturday morning in their time zone. Sessions take place through Zoom and have been uninterrupted by the global pandemic.

Club President Delilah Jesson ’22 says serving as a tutor has been fulfilling, not only because she has helped students improve their English language skills, but because she has gained a broader international perspective.

“I take part in the One-on-One Friendship Club because of the connection I can make with people across the world. Being a tutor means having a delightful mix of patience and curiosity. The people who come to learn English are so excited and curious to learn about things even unrelated to the lesson,” Jesson, a psychology major, says.

Abu Aly, also a student who participates in the program from Indonesia, says it is invaluable to speak to native speakers. “For me, they teach us English well. I like the way they teach because they go slowly for us. It is not easy for me to talk to natives in Jakarta, so I hope this program will never end.”

Julia Stockwin ’22 joined the program during her first year at the Colleges. An economics and French and Francophone double major, Stockwin is passionate about language education and the program’s impact. “When the opportunity to help others learn English arose, I wanted to partake immediately. I have been very fortunate to have such a large array of resources to help me learn as many languages as I choose, but I recognize that not everyone around the world is as fortunate as myself in that regard,” says Stockwin. “I am thankful for the opportunity that One-on-One has provided me to connect with a global community of language learners.”

Kimberly Waldek ’22, who joined the club this semester, has learned a thing or two herself from volunteering. “Even though the sessions are only for one hour a week, I can say that I have learned something about their culture and some Bahasa words during every session,” says Waldek, an economics and mathematics double major.