University of Pittsburgh
October 15, 2008

Pitt Seeks to Alleviate International Students' Homesickness by Offering Free Phone Calls to Family and Friends Abroad

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Recognizing the importance of students maintaining strong ties with family and friends, the University of Pittsburgh's Office of International Services (OIS) and Office of Institutional Advancement (IA) will host the Homesickness Prevention Phone Call Program for international students, from 9 to 11 a.m. Oct. 26 in Room 342 Craig Hall, 200 S. Craig St., Oakland. The service is being provided during Pitt's Homecoming and Family Weekend when thousands of alumni and families are expected to visit the University.

The program will provide first-year international undergraduates with an opportunity to place a free, 10-minute overseas phone call. Online registration is required.

"The Homesickness Prevention Phone Call Program started as a small way to show IA's support for students who sacrifice day-to-day contact with their families abroad to pursue an education at Pitt," said Albert J. Novak, vice chancellor for institutional advancement. "IA is pleased to provide this opportunity for our international students because we know these conversations with loved ones mean a lot to our students."

Homecoming weekend is an essential time for taking steps to prevent homesickness among students who can't routinely contact their loved ones, said George Kacenga, assistant director for international admissions at Pitt. "One of OIS' goals is to help make the University of Pittsburgh a home for our international students, and this program is just one way of realizing that goal."

Throughout the academic year, OIS hosts various events and activities designed to help international students make a successful transition to Pitt. Such events include an extensive orientation program in August with ongoing orientation sessions throughout the school year.

Pitt's IA office is funding the phone call program. IA, along with the Medical and Health Sciences Foundation, undertakes all fundraising tasks for the University, as well as maintains active involvement with alumni around the world.

For more information, contact Janine Fisher, OIS's assistant director for international public relations and programming, at 412-624-7621 or