International Potluck

All are welcome to our International Potluck on Saturday, March 30 at 6:30 pm. The form is here to RSVP or to get more information.

Ebenezer Baptist/MLKing, Jr. Tour

Despite the weather conditions we had a wonderful turnout on October 20 for the Ebenezer Baptist/MLKing, Jr. Tour.  We had 41 attendees with 26 students coming by Uber/Lyft, MARTA, or personal vehicle to the event to learn more about Atlanta especially the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The students came from seven different colleges and universities (Emory, Columbia Theological, Agnes Scott, Georgia State, Kennesaw State, Spelman and Georgia Tech) to participate in the event. We were warmly greeted by AMIS Board members from Ebenezer Baptist where students enjoyed meeting one another and Americans.  Afterwards, students were paired with Americans to tour the King Center and Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church before touring the King Family birthplace at 4pm. Thanks to each person that participated in this wonderful event!

Georgia National Fair

International students experienced the Georgia National Fair in October learning about agriculture and agri-businesses.  They also had an opportunity to see circus performers and a water show.  We were joined by Georgia Southwestern State University students and their English Language Institute Director, John Fox.  Everyone had a great time despite the warm temperatures!

Georgia National Fair with Atlanta and Americus students  Georgia National Fair 2Georgia National Fair  Georgia National Fair 4Georgia National Fair 3   Georgia National Fair 5

Welcome Back! With Love from Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob

Aunt Louise:  Hello there!  We hope you’ve had a great summer!


Uncle Bob:  The yellow school busses are stopping for the kids in our neighborhood, so we figured it was about time for our International Student friends to get back, even though it’s still so hot, it just doesn’t seem right to be getting back to school!


Aunt Louise:  That’s right, Bob!  When we were going to school, or were young parents getting our daughter to school, the school year started in September, when the weather was a little cooler.  But as our grandchildren became students, school seemed to start earlier each year.


Uncle Bob:  It’s no wonder the stores start selling school supplies right after the July 4th Parades!  We hope you got to see a parade with a marching band.  That’s a lot of fun!


Aunt Louise:  We hope you got to see a baseball game, even though it was probably very hot! These days, Bob and I like to watch our Atlanta Braves baseball on TV.


Uncle Bob:  They say baseball is as American as apple pie, one of my favorite treats.  When I was a boy, we would make 1st, 2nd and 3rd bases out of a piece of cardboard, and sometimes our bat was just a stick.  All the neighborhood boys would be in somebody’s yard playing.


Aunt Louise:  Some of the girls, like my sister Flo, loved to play baseball too.  Seriously, though, we’re glad you’re back.  We know you’re all busy, but be sure to come to the Welcome Reception on Saturday, September 8, 2-4 p.m., at the Georgia Tech Student Services Ballroom.  There will be music, good food and new friends to meet.  You will receive information for the upcoming Braves Game, the Amigo program and Christmas International House.  Please invite new international students to come as well.


Uncle Bob:  Now remember, you can write and ask us anything you want to know about American customs, by writing to Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob at  Just think of us as your American Aunt and Uncle!  Now Louise, do you think you could bake that apple pie?  It really is my favorite treat!


If you haven’t met Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob, here’s part of their first column from 2017…


Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob


Uncle Bob and Aunt Louise are a traditional southern couple, kind, easy to talk with, not too fancy, but they like to do things “the right way.” Uncle Bob washes the car and tends the garden and his beloved rosebushes.  Aunt Louise keeps a clean house, embroiders and crochets.  Since they’ve retired, they enjoy going out for breakfast—chicken biscuits are a great treat, but it’s hard to bake just two!

So why would you want to know Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob?  Perhaps you have a question about American or Southern culture or etiquette, but don’t know whom to ask.  Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob are ready to help!  Send your questions via email to Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob at

Aunt Louise & Uncle Bob Father’s Day/Independence Day

Uncle Bob: Hello there! Louise and I know you students are busy with summer classes, internships and such, but we wanted to update you on a few more bits of American culture.

Aunt Louise: We were out of town last weekend, seeing our kids and grandkids, and didn’t get to write to you about Father’s Day, but it’s so similar to Mother’s Day, we were sure it wasn’t much of a reach for you to figure it out.

Uncle Bob: Father’s Day, like Mother’s Day, is all about family, honoring your parent, and has been celebrated in the USA since 1910. It was Started by Sonora Smart Dodd, whose father, William Jackson Smart, had raised 6 children as a single parent in Spokane, Washington.

Aunt Louise: We hope you all had a good weekend with your friends, perhaps some video time with your parents. American families don’t always celebrate on the date on the calendar, but remember, it’s always the right time to tell your folks you love and appreciate them.

Uncle Bob: Now, Louise, what should we tell these folks about American Independence Day, July 4th? I’m sure you’ve been thinking about it.

Aunt Louise: Our Independence Day commemorates the day the Continental Congress of our first 13 Colonies signed the Declaration of Independence, legally making us separate from Great Britain, regarding themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, made of 13 states, rather than colonies. It has been a federal holiday since 1870, and a paid federal holiday since 1938.

Uncle Bob: That’s a short version of the history, but we aren’t writing a textbook for you! Today, the U. K. and the U.S.A. are friends and allies, and we don’t dwell on the days when we were not. It’s good to know the past, so you can learn from it. Now, we celebrate the good!

Aunt Louise: And don’t we celebrate! Parades, marching bands, political candidates waving from cars and throwing candy to children… Almost everyone wears red, white and blue, even if you’re at home having a cookout with just the family. There are many patriotic songs to enjoy, from band music to country tunes on the radio, and others we sing at worship services. We used to love taking the kiddos in their pajamas to watch the firework displays!

Uncle Bob: Yes, then they would fall asleep on the way home, nothing better!

Aunt Louise: Here’s some odd bits of history for you…Two signers of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, were both presidents, and both died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Another of our presidents, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831. Our 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4, 1872, so far, the only president to have that special birthday.

Uncle Bob: July 4th is a very special day! Our family is going to the Marietta Square to listen to all the bands play, then have some hotdogs and hamburgers. If you’re nearby, you’re welcome to come listen too, but there will be celebrations in many parks and community areas wherever you are.

Aunt Louise: We hope you get out and enjoy them! We’ll be talking to you soon!

Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob

Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob – Mother’s Day

Dear Auntie Louise and Uncle Bob: Thank you for the great advice on Cinco de Mayo I worked ahead on projects and studying so I had time to try out several Mexican restaurants—they had special prices and lots of decorations. There was a party in my student center Friday afternoon too—I made some new friends. But now, I too, have a question…can you tell me, is this celebration of “Mother’s Day” the same thing as “Mothering Sunday” at home?

Uncle Bob: “Mothering Sunday?” I know about “Mother’s Day”—we’ve been honoring our mother’s since we were little tykes ourselves, but I don’t rightly know about “Mothering Sunday….” They sound related, for sure. Louise, do you think one came from the other?

Aunt Louise: There are many celebrations of motherhood around the world, going back even thousands of years. The Christian ‘Mothering Sunday” was originally a commemoration of the “Mother Church,” not motherhood, and there is a Catholic “Virgin Mary Sunday,” but over time, many countries have moved to a day that honors and celebrates one’s own mother, although plenty of folks celebrate both meanings, some at different times. Bob, why don’t you go ahead and tell us what you know about “Mother’s Day” in the USA?

Uncle Bob: “Mother’s Day” was first celebrated in 1908 at St. Andrews Methodist church in West Virginia. Anna Jarvis started it to honor her own mother, Anna R. Jarvis, a peace activist who cared for injured soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and who addressed public health issues. It became a national holiday in 1914, but was recognized and celebrated in all the U.S. states in 1911.

Aunt Louise: That’s right, Bob! And, in 1912 Anna Jarivs, trademarked the phrase “Mother’s Day” and “Second Sunday in May.” She said it should always be written in the singular possessive, and that everyone should write personal notes to their own mother. She said a white carnation should be the flower given to one’s mother.

Uncle Bob: Anna Jarvis didn’t like card, candy and flower-sellers making a bunch of “Mother’s Day Gifts.” (She called it commercialization. Most folks call it marketing.) Folks liked her idea of honoring their mothers, but they enjoyed different ways of celebrating. I’ve never been one for writing poetry, so I’ve always liked the store-bought cards, myself, and I much prefer roses to Carnations. My brother, Earl, liked to bring our Mama a lily plant, because a lily meant “motherhood” in China, and Earl said that was a good enough reason.

Aunt Louise: Well, my family didn’t have much money to buy flowers or gifts when we were growing up, but we always had roses growing in the garden. Mama wore a white rose pinned to her dress on Mother’s Day. My sister and I always wore pink roses to church on Mother’s Day, sometimes red as we got older. After our mama died we wore white roses too, to honor our mother. Later our daughters got us white orchid corsages—symbolizing love, beauty and many children. Some other traditions are making mamma breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day morning. (We didn’t do that in our family, but many families do.) Children would usually make cards and gifts for their mamas—nowadays, these seem to be purchased more often. The important thing was being together with the family.

AMIS Day “Celebrating 40 years of International Friendships”

On Sunday, April 22, many AMIS supporters, volunteers, and students joined to celebrate 40 years of the ministry.   Founder Rev. Dr. Fahed Abu-Akel reflected on the origins of the ministry and its progress through the first forty years.  Current Executive Director Rev. Irene Wong projected the future of AMIS for the next forty years.  In addition, a former international student, Aileen Huang, spoke about her friendship with her American Amigo, Doris Hoenig.  In turn, Doris Hoenig, spoke about her friendship with Aileen and her other international students since 2003. Doris was recognized by the AMIS Programs Committee for her contributions in cultivating friendships with a bouquet of flowers and a crown! The reception provided a lovely time for the all the participants and the venue was beautifully decorated.

Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob – Cinco de Mayo

Dear Aunt Louise and Uncle Bob: You have been so helpful telling me about the (so many!) holidays that are celebrated in the US. Some are more serious or religious, some seem to be all about having fun. Now I have heard from friends (and seen a few advertisements) about another “day” coming up soon…Cinqo de Mayo. What can you tell me about that?


Uncle Bob: What? Cinqo de Mayo? The only Mayo I know is the mayonnaise that Louise puts on my sandwiches. And while we celebrate a lot here in the US, I don’t think a holiday for a sandwich spread is what this is about. Louise, can you help me out here?

Aunt Louise: Of course, dear. The translation from Spanish of Cinqo de Mayo is simply the “5th of May”. Way back in 1862, the Mexican army had a surprise victory in a battle against the French (sadly it seems we humans are always at war with one another). The Battle of Puebla occurred on May 5th under the leadership General Ignacio Zaragoza. So in Mexico, the day is about ceremonial commemoration of that battle, usually with military parades. Keep in mind though, that this is not the same as Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16th.

Uncle Bob: Now that you mention it, I do remember our nieces in Texas talking about celebrating it there. Are there parades and military events here? I don’t seem to recall any.

Aunt Louise: No, Cinqo de Mayo in the US is celebrated differently, and it did become popular with Americans in our western states first. (You may see some women wearing the pretty flower-embroidered Mexican shirts and dresses—my sister Flo has one!) On May 5th people of all different nationalities and backgrounds like to celebrate Mexican-American culture. And in most cultures, celebrations include food and drink and music. So folks like to go out and eat some tasty Mexican food, and many of them like to drink margaritas or Mexican beer and listen to traditional music. It is a festive and joyful day. So take advantage of the American experience of celebrating its southwestern neighbor.

Uncle Bob: So since it will probably be jam-packed on May 5, maybe you and I should go on down to El Sombrero, our favorite Mexican restaurant, a little early, Louise. What do you think?

Aunt Louise: Si Senor…which means “yes sir”!


%d bloggers like this: