PSU's program offers a dynamic schedule that incorporates various learning strategies both inside and outside the traditional classroom environment. Weekday mornings are dedicated to classroom instruction in conflict resolution, civic leadership and democratic institutions with Portland State University faculty. Two afternoons per week, students meet at Mercy Corps’ Portland-based Action Center, where they receive hands-on training in action plan development and implementation. This includes the development of individualized plans to be implemented in participants’ home countries upon return.
During their time in Portland, each MEPI student is placed with a local host family for a weekend homestay. This is designed to allow host families and MEPI students to learn about each others' cultures, through conversation, food and shared experience. Host familes are invited to the program closing dinner, student presentations and informal social events, and they play a very important role in the overall student experience. MEPI students have overwhelmingly told us that this is one of the most rewarding parts of their trip to the U.S.
If you are interested in being a host for a MEPI visitor this summer or would like more information, please contact Erik Mandell at email@example.com.
Educational and Weekend Trips
MEPI staff members plan a number of weekend trips and activities within the region. These are designed to highlight the differences between urban and rural Oregon, and to showcase the state's natural resources and recreation areas. Although trips vary from year to year, staff members try to include visits to various destinations in Oregon, as well as the week-long educational visit to California's San Francisco Bay Area.
One goal of the Portland State University's MEPI Program is to involve as many community partners as possible, so that MEPI students experience the diversity of experience and opinion that exists in the Portland Metropolitan Region as well as the State of Oregon. MEPI staff work with our partners to plan community-hosted events, including social gatherings hosted by and within the larger community. In the past, these have included Fourth of July barbeques, Willamette River kayaking, dinners, tours, and shopping trips. We feel that these activities give MEPI students a sense of place and a better understanding of their host community.