Cape Gazette
http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/1213851

International students welcome special guest

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State meets foreign students at Epworth UMC
By Taggart Houck | Aug 06, 2014
Photo by: Taggart Houck U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robin Lerner receives a warm welcome at Epworth UMC, where she shared dinner and talked with international students. Shown are (l-r) Epworth UMC member Sue Sprague, Rehoboth commissioner Stan Mills, Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Carol Everhart, Hugh Leahy, Lerner, Melonie Ettinger and Jim Blakeslee.

Rehoboth Beach — International Exchange students in the Cape Region received a special visit from U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robin Lerner at a dinner event July 15.

Lerner said she visited the Cape Region to show her support for the students. Sharing dinner, provided by Epworth United Methodist Church as part of the Lewe-Rehoboth Association of Churches International Student Outreach Program, Lerner talked with students about their experience in the program.

Lerner oversees the U.S. Department of State's J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Program, which gives students from around the world an opportunity to live and work in the United States during their summer break from college to experience the American way of life.

Lerner is on a summer tour across the country, meeting with students in the Summer Work Travel program, managed by the State Department through the J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Program she oversees.

After stopping in areas like Harrisburg, Pa., and Ocean City, Md., Lerner set her sights on Rehoboth Beach, temporary home to students from more than 35 countries in the Summer Work Travel program.

“We're really honored to have her here,” said Sue Sprague, a member of the International Student Outreach Program and Epworth UMC.

Lerner visited the Cape Region for the first time since being appointed two-and-a-half years ago.

The International Student Outreach Program provides free meals for students five times per week at select churches and has served nearly 800 meals since the season began, May 27.

Sue Sprague has been involved with the International Student Outreach Program dinners since it started in 2006. In addition to feeding students, the program offers low-cost day trips throughout the summer to Washington, D.C., Six Flags, and Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

“It's a blessing,” she says. “We make new friends and we get to help the students. They come to us if they need help with anything.”

Students, employers and local elected officials dine together at Epworth UMC July 15. (Photo by: Taggart Houck)
A map at Epworth UMC displays where international students in the Cape Region traveled from this summer. Students attending the dinners throughout season mark where they are from at the weekly dinners. (Photo by: Taggart Houck)
United States Deputy Assistant Secretary Robin Lerner is on a national tour, meeting International students part of the J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Program. Here she talks to two international students at Epworth UMC July 15. (Photo by: Taggart Houck)
Summer Work Travel Program students in Rehoboth Beach enjoy a meal provided by the International Student Outreach Program. Shown are (l-r) Mehmet Kandamar, Haken Tawriver and Burhan Tastan, all from Turkey. (Photo by: Taggart Houck)
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