Welcoming Pen Pals to Campus

This past quarter, 95 University of Washington students from around the world wrote letters with 156 local elementary school students from Martha Lake Elementary and Beacon Hill International School through the FIUTS Pen Pal program. Through these letters, local kids got to learn about other parts of the world, and international students gained insight into what it's like to grow up in the Seattle area.



On Wednesday, December 6 and Friday, December 8, the Pen Pals from these local schools took field trips to the UW campus to meet their UW student Pen Pals in person! Everyone had a great time engaging in many different activities and getting to know one another face to face.


Here are some photos from the events as well as some quotes from the UW Pen Pals about what they liked best about their experiences. Thank you to everyone who participated!


Pen Pals from Martha Lake Elementary joined the FIUTS Wednesday Lunch event on December 6, which included special activities like origami, making cards, drawing portraits, puzzles, games, and more!



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Kids are the future. The pen pal program gives you the opportunity to inspire the young people and set an example for them as a university student, and to get also inspired by their cheerful letters." -UW Pen Pal



"The FIUTS Pen Pal program was a great experience. I got to discover so much about my pen pals' likes and dislikes, and general culture. It was really fun because both were super creative and curious about learning about my own culture." UW Pen Pal

 In addition to all the activities, many Pen Pals spent time just talking and getting to know one another better.




Beacon Hill students got a hands-on geography lesson from their Pen Pals and a giant globe!


"The best thing for me was that I was able to teach a child about my country and culture, while at the same time I got to learn more about the American lifestyle and culture from the child. It was a very rewarding experience!" -UW Pen Pal


Giant Connect Four (from HUB Games) was also a big hit.


"The best part about being a Pen Pal was probably the excitement when letters would come in. I also generally just liked feeling a connection outside of the University, with a kid who has such a completely different outlook on life. I think this experience reminded me the importance of communication, especially communication with those who have different perspectives and English skills." -UW Pen Pal



Things can get chaotic when 75 fifth graders all hang out in one room, but some Pen Pals opted for some quiet coloring.


"I learned that American children are very eager to learn more about other countries. My Pen Pal kept asking me about traditions and celebrations in my country and then commented on the things I told her in the next letter. She seemed genuinely interested in learning things, which I really appreciated. During the pen-pal lunch, I got the same impression of the other children who were there as well." -UW Pen Pal


Interested in the Pen Pal Program? Learn more here.


Special thanks to the Center for Global Studies for sponsoring the Pen Pal meet-up events!