Get Involved

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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.

Become a Community Friend

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4 students take a selfie on a beautiful, blue sky day

The Community Friends program matches AUAP students with families and individuals in Bellingham community for conversation, friendship, and cultural exchange.

Community Friends volunteer to invite AUAP students into their home at least once during the student's time at Western. Visits allows the students to see American home and family life and share some elements of Japanese culture.

Who can be a Community Friend?

Anyone! If you live in Bellingham and are interested in learning about Japanese culture, or want to share your culture with someone else, you have what it takes.

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

How to Sign Up

If you would like to participate in the Community Friends program now or in the future, contact the program at (360) 650-6240 or auap@wwu.edu. Your email or phone message should include answers to the following questions:

  • What is your name and contact information (phone number, email address, and mailing address)?
  • What interests or hobbies do you enjoy?
  • What students would you prefer to be matched with (male, female, or no preference)?
  • Do you have children? Please include gender and age(s).
  • Name and contact information of two references
  • For First Time Potential Community Friends: Who referred you to our program? 

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 needed 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 in real-life settings
  • Benefits for Western students:
  • Develop cross-cultural friendships & communication
  • Get involved and serve others

How to Sign Up

Send an email to auap@wwu.edu with the following information:

  • Your first & last name
  • Your phone number
  • Your mailing address
  • Your year in college & your major
  • Your interests & hobbies

You will receive a confirmation email from AUAP Student Services staff, and asked to acknowledge that you have read and understand policies associated with being a campus friend. We will work hard to find an AUAP student match. 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 go ahead and re-submit the information above. You will not be automatically re-enrolled.

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. Go to the Canvas course page and enroll in the 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!

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.
  • 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.