When Zivil Vebraite graduated from the University of Rochester this weekend, her Family will not be there to celebrate with her. Vebraite, a lithuania development biology student, said COVID-19 restrictions and the high cost of air trips make her parents attend.

but Vebraite will not be alone. Megan Hall, who works at the Medical Center of the University of Rochester, will be at the beginning to encourage it, thanks to the new "Fill-in Family" program of the University, which coincides with the international students graduated with faculty and personnel that serve as substitutes.

"For me, this program is very important, because I have not been at home since before Covid, which means that I have not seen my Family for a few years," Vebraite said. "Graduate from the university is a great achievement, and it is important to celebrate it. And when you are alone, it feels different. When I learned of this program, I thought it is very friendly to recognize that we need each other."

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The program, launched this year, is designed to help international students as Vebraite to feel supported when they walk along the stage this weekend to receive their diplomas. The beginning of the university will take place on Friday, with additional ceremonies and events for individual schools and departments on Saturdays and Sundays.

Molly Morrison, dean assistant to international student affairs for university students, came up with the idea after years of personally anterity of international students, many of whom had no Family members present in the beginning .

"has been in my mind for a while, because even in normal years, some of our international students are not able to make their families come to the ceremony for many different reasons," said Morrison. " But this year, we are in person again for the ceremony, but it is even more difficult for families that come: there are closures in China, there are visa restrictions in other countries and flights can be very expensive, so families have to Make some really difficult options. "

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There is no time, she had matched 15 international students with 15 voluntary families, and she said she had to get another 15 families. She tried to match students with families who have similar interests, or with teachers or staff working at the same school or program. The students connected with their substitute families by email.

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  • plagiar , so it is very disappointing, "said Morrison." Others knew that this would never be an option for them. So having someone there for them is really moving because we have receptions to which they can go together. "

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