Get Involved


Group of WWU-AUAP students stand in front of Old Main building surrounded by green lawns and tall trees in the summer

AUAP students experience American life and culture through a variety of activities. Here are the ways Western students and community members can get involved.

As you explore opportunities to get involved, we encourage you to explore the cultural comparisons between the U.S. and Japan

a group of international students are all smiles as they mug for the camera on a blue sky day.

Become a Community Friend

The Community Friends program matches AUAP students with families and individuals in the Bellingham community for conversation, friendship, and cultural exchange. Community Friends volunteer to help students feel at home in the U.S. by doing things like inviting them to local events, playing games and sharing meals. These relationships allow students to experience the local culture while at the same time sharing some elements of Japanese culture with you! Many of our community friends stay in touch with AUAP students after they return home - some have even traveled to visit them!

Who can be a Community Friend?

Anyone! If you live in/near Bellingham and are interested in learning about Japanese culture, or want to share your culture with someone from another country, you have what it takes!

Although many students are interested in meeting families with children, others prefer single adults and couples without children.

How to Sign Up

  1. Fill out this community friends online form.
  2. You will receive a confirmation email from AUAP Student Services staff with our policies associated with being a community friend. Acknowledge that you have read and understood these policies and agree to them by responding to the email.

    If this is your first time being a community friend, we will also give you a call to learn more about you and answer any questions you may have about the program.
  3. We will use your information to match you with AUAP students. If matched, you will be invited to a welcome party, the Community Friends Gathering, where you will meet your AUAP friends!
A group of friends sit laughing and talking around a table

Become a Campus Friend

Campus Friends are Western students who volunteer to spend time with AUAP students on a regular, intentional basis. Campus Friends are matched with AUAP students primarily in September and February, but applications are accepted year-round.​

Benefits for AUAP students:

  • Help AUAP students meet others at Western
  • Introduce AUAP students to American culture
  • Give AUAP students an opportunity to practice English outside the classroom

Benefits for Western students:

  • Develop cross-cultural communication skills
  • Make international friends
  • Get involved and serve others

How to Sign Up

  1. Fill out this campus friends application form.
  2. You will receive a confirmation email from AUAP Student Services staff with our policies associated with being a campus friend. Acknowledge that you have read and understood these policies and agree to them by responding to the email.
  3. We will work hard to find an AUAP student match. If matched, you will be invited to a kick-off party, the Campus Friends Gathering, where you can meet your AUAP friend!

AUAP students are here for five months at a time. If you enjoy being a Campus Friend for one five-month cycle and wish to participate for the next five months, please re-submit an application. You will not be automatically re-enrolled.

A group of international students work together on their English skills in the classroom

Become a Classroom Volunteer

Classroom volunteers assist AUAP students in English classes, allowing them to practice English with native speakers. It also gives both AUAP and Western students a chance to meet new people and make new friends!

There are typically 20 Japanese students in each class.

AUAP students take classes in:

  • Functions (conversation skills)
  • American Studies (discussion about culture)
  • Integrated English Skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing, pronunciation, grammar)
  • Career and Business Exploration (understanding careers/personal interests, practicing job search/interview skills)

Classroom volunteers are asked to model conversations, participate in small group discussions, help with vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and more. Necessary materials and guidance are provided by an AUAP instructor. Commitments range from 1 to 15 hours per week. AUAP classes are held throughout the day in 50 minute periods, and conveniently fit with Western's regular class schedule.

How to Sign Up

  1. Enroll in the Canvas course: AUAP Classroom Volunteer
  2. Read the volunteer guidelines
  3. Take the volunteer intake quiz
  4. Sign up for a class
  5. Start volunteering and have fun!
Three international students pose for the camera outside in nature, alongside a river

Become an AUAP Roommate

Benefits of having an AUAP roommate...

  • Share in many fun activities. Even the simplest things mean a lot, because everything is brand new. Try to see your world through fresh eyes and gain a new appreciation of life.
  • Experience a different part of the world without leaving your room!
  • Learn cross-cultural communication skills that employers find invaluable in today's job market.

More benefits of having an AUAP roommate...


  • Become more aware of what's happening on campus and in Bellingham.  Your roommate receives activity calendars every week highlighting campus, community, and hall events!
  • Laugh together at the funny things that happen when communicating with each other.
  • Become a better listener. Improve future relationships in your workplace, with your friends, and with your significant other.
  • Gain the satisfaction of knowing you helped someone learn about America. Your AUAP roommate will tell their friends and family about you, and increase international goodwill between our countries.
  • Note your intercultural roommate experience on your resume for future employers to see.
  • Build a life-long friendship and a chance to visit Japan as an honored guest!
  • Learn more about yourself and your own country. You never truly know about yourself, your language, or your own culture until you have learned about another.

How to Sign Up

Check the box when filling out Western's housing application that asks if you'd like to be a roommate with an AUAP student.

Student Employment Opportunities

Join our team! AUAP has two flexible positions working with AU students and AUAP staff.

International Peer Advisor (IPA)

Western students are hired and trained to advise small groups of AUAP students during their time in Bellingham. Along with making many new friends and learning more about Japanese culture this position allows Western students to acquire transferable job skills, gain valuable experience in intercultural communication, and include strong leadership experience on a resume.

IPAs are required to work an average of 19 hours a week. Job duties include:

  • Facilitating AUAP student orientation
  • Interacting with AUAP students on a daily basis
  • Helping students understand and adjust to US culture
  • Planning activities and promoting local events
  • Supporting AUAP curricular goals
  • Supporting AUAP students as they interact with WWU campus departments
  • Facilitating students' involvement with other WWU students and community members
  • Leading weekly group meetings
  • Assisting with emergencies
  • Attending weekly staff meetings and check-ins with the AUAP supervisor

Required Qualifications:

  • Be a full-time student at WWU
  • Live within a 1 mile radius of a WWU residence hall
  • Commit to at least one five-month cycle of AUAP
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.7 at the time you begin employment
  • Satisfactory completion of IPA Training

How to apply to be an IPA

To apply for an IPA position, please check the student job board for non-work study jobs in the paraprofessional category. The job description will be there, along with a link to an application. 

Bilingual Student Assistant

Bilingual Assistants are Western students fluent in Japanese and English who provide written and spoken translation to AUAP students and staff. The position allows students to develop important intercultural communication skills and provides valuable experience for a resume. 

Bilingual Assistants will work an average of 5-6 hours per week. Job duties include:

  • Orientation sessions, including: Residence Hall Policies, Safety and Health, Cell Phones, Immunizations
  • Student materials, including Experience class information & Student Handbook
  • Student evaluations
  • Messages from Asia University and other Japanese agencies
  • Medical emergencies, appointments, and office visits, including counseling appointments
  • AUAP website content development, marketing materials
  • Monthly updates to Asia University
  • Legal matters and court hearings

Required Qualifications:

  • Be a full-time student at WWU
  • Be fluent in Japanese and English, both speaking and writing
  • Commit to at least one five-month cycle of AUAP

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Prior experience with spoken translation, especially to groups
  • Prior experience with written translation of formal documents

Bilingual Student Assistants are expected to check and respond to email and phone messages within 24 hours, and perform other responsibilities as assigned.

Pay Rate: $13.50 per hour.

How to apply to be a Bilingual Assistant

To apply for the Bilingual Assistant position, please e-mail Kerry Allen at You will be required to fill out an application and show proof of language fluency.