Welcome International Students to our Homes

North Shore WISH is an informal program to introduce international college students to American life.

Many students come to the United States and spend free time to visit Niagara Falls, Disney World, and other sights, yet never see the inside of an American home.   North Shore WISH was formed to help students experience home life in America.  Though the numbers are still small, for five years we have been befriending an increasing number of students.

Hosts may offer a variety of activities:

  • Home stay during Thanksgiving, winter, and/or spring breaks
  • Dinner and discussion evenings.
  • Barbecue
  • Outings to events – concerts, fairs, etc.
  • Use your imagination!
Digging clams in Annasquam – 2013
Digging clams in Annasquam – 2013

Students are generally grateful for the opportunity to meet Americans in their homes, see and experience American life, and more.  And the parents in their home countries are grateful to know that their children are learning more than just the academic material, and have people they can turn on rare occasions when they have a problem.

This program currently focuses on students from Asia – Japan and China.  This is not an intentional limitation – it is just the result of  its evolution and the interests of the founders.  Also, Asians generally  come for only one or two years, and have less chance than others to experience American life.

We hope that more countries will be included in the future.  Also, because of location, most of the students we serve have been from Salem State University, but it is hoped that future growth will include other North Shore institutions.

Making Jack-o-Lanterns for Hallowe’en – 2012
Making Jack-o-Lanterns for Hallowe’en – 2012

Salem State University

SSU currently has about 500 international students from some 70 nations.  The Center for International Education (CIE) coordinates all international students’ programs and services,  Study Abroad and English as a Second Language (ESL) students.  North Shore WISH works closely with CIE.

Salem State University has a dual degree program for both graduate and undergraduate degrees in partnership with several universities in China.  Most Chinese undergraduate students are here for two years or more in a program called “1-2-1″.  They attend a Chinese university for their 1st and 4th years, and SSU for the middle two years and for the graduate program, students usually stay for one full year. At the end, they receive degrees from both universities.  There are also visiting scholars who participate in the international programs.

Japanese students fall in two categories: four years students fully enrolled for degree programs, and exchange students who stay one year to take academic courses and  improve their command of English.  These latter students are mostly from Reitaku University, sister-school of Salem State University in Japan.


WISH is not affiliated with SSU in any official way.

WISH is endorsed by the UU congregation of Marblehead.  This is a social action program; absolutely no attempt is made to interest students in adopting UU beliefs.