What is the CASA program?
UW-Platteville’s CASA program provides the opportunity for local residents to open their own casas y corazones (homes and hearts) to international students coming from over 25 different countries. The CASA program is designed to encourage interaction between UW-Platteville’s international students and the Platteville/tri-state community. Each community ambassador will be paired with 1-3 international students and will commit to getting together with these students at least once per month during the academic year. The goal of the CASA Program is to help students and community members to explore the tri-state area together, share each other's culture, and discover a new friend(s).
Who can participate in the CASA program?
Individual community members, couples, and families within a 25-mile radius of Platteville, Wisconsin, are invited to apply to participate in the CASA program. All international students at UW-Platteville are invited to apply, regardless of student status (freshman, sophomore, exchange, etc.), but priority will be given to new degree-seeking international students.
What will I do with my community family/ambassador?
Students and community ambassadors are encouraged to meet approximately once per month to help expose students to various aspects of U.S. culture. Examples of activities that community ambassadors can do with their students include:
• Hike to or picnic in a scenic area
• Attend local ethnic events
• Go out for coffee or lunch
• Decorate for holidays (carve pumpkins, put up Christmas tree, etc.)
• During an election year, watch presidential debates/election night together
• Go to an auction, flea market, or yard sale
• Celebrate birthday of the student or family members
• Create a photo album together; include pictures and mementos of activities you've shared
• Cook together; students teach community ambassador to make his/her favorite dish from home, and the community ambassador can teach student how to make a U.S. American dish
• Visit a local dairy or farmer’s market
• Go on shopping and other business errands (introduce them to supermarket shopping, banking, etc.)
• Visit a public school or school of community ambassador’s children
• Attend school performances in which community member’s children or friends are involved
• Attend a musical concert sponsored by a university performing group
• Visit nearby places of historical interest
How often should students and community ambassadors get together?
When you are first matched with your student or community ambassador, we ask that you meet at least once a month. Life can get busy for both community members and students. Community ambassadors should keep in contact regularly with the students and try to arrange a time to meet that is accommodating to both the community member and the student.
What is the length of commitment?
The formal match lasts for one academic year, from September to May, but you will have the opportunity to participate in the CASA program for as long as you are a student if you would like. We encourage all matches to get together once a month. It is important to the success of this program that there be a commitment on both sides to make time in busy schedules to get together and get to know each other over the course of the year. The greater the commitments, the greater the rewards! Exchange students or English Language Program (ELP) who are at UW-Platteville for only a semester are eligible to apply for the CASA program. For obvious reasons, semester-long exchange or ELP students would only be obligated to participate for one semester if they apply.
How do community ambassadors and students benefit from participating in the CASA program?
Community ambassadors in the CASA program agree to support new international students during their transition to campus and to the tri-state area community. In turn, community members can experience different cultures from around the world.
Can community ambassadors host more than one student at a time?
Yes, community ambassadors may host more than one student at a time. In fact, this is encouraged since hosting a second student may take pressure off of both the family/individual community member and the students. The international students feel more comfortable and, in some instances, may open up more quickly than if they were paired with a family or community member by themselves.
What is the relationship between community ambassadors and students in the CASA program like?
The friendships developed during the CASA Program are based on the individual personalities of the students and community members and the activities you choose to do together. As students and community members get to know one another, the relationship will establish its own direction. It is important to recognize that not all matches in the CASA program end up as best friends; however, it is hoped that both the community members and the students will learn more about themselves and each other’s culture.
When will I meet my community ambassador/family?
One-on-one matches will be made in August and/or January of each year. UW-Platteville will host a CASA program orientation session for community ambassadors and students and a Meet and Greet reception during which community members in the program will meet their students. These orientation sessions take place at the beginning of each fall and spring semester.
What if I am a semester-long exchange student? May I still participate in the CASA program?
Yes; while degree-seeking undergraduate and ELP international students will be given priority, we encourage exchange or short-term ELP students to apply to the CASA program, too. We would simply match your community ambassador with another semester-long student the following semester.
Are all UW-Platteville international students required to participate in the CASA program?
No, international students need to apply if they would like to participate in the CASA program.
How do I join the CASA program?
If you are an international student or exchange student interested in being paired with a community ambassador through the CASA program, please fill out an online application.
All applications for fall are due August 1. All applications for spring are due December 1.