By: Arnold Wang, Staff Writer
It has been eight months since Tim Piona and Lisy Piona opened their house on August 22 to welcome the new international students who joined Thunderbird School of Global Management last year. They were later joined by another American couple, Roger Cox and Leonda Cox, to co-host this event, which is considered by many international students a window for them to learn local American culture and traditions.
Tim, born in Chicargo, was influenced by his mother since he was young to be friendly to international students. His working and living experience in Europe for many years makes him even more open and more comfortable with other nationalities, a special trait destined to bring him closer to T-birds after he moved to Peoria, Arizona, two years ago. Now, he is working as a security architect of Freeport-McMoRan, the largest copper company in America. Lisy was born in Guatemala, and her hospitality to outsiders can be traced back to her family in her home country. As Tim said in his first e-mail to international students who joined Thunderbird in Fall 2014, “Our goal will be to get to know each other better. Together we will share our cultures and learn more about Christianity. ” And he is doing his best to fulfill what he promised and continuously makes improvement.
This couple treasures Friday Fun Night like one of their own children (Tim and Lisy have one son and one daughter). Fun Night is rarely cancelled, unless it’s a final exams week. But more often, one can feel Tim’s hospitality overflowing in his invitation letters destined to arrive to your inbox every week before Thursday.
Local American culture is what the international students wish to experience when they travel thousands of miles from locales like China or India to the U.S. Tim and Lisy always cater Friday Fun Night to that need. They teach international students the Christian Bible, play table games with them, bring them to church, and show them American ice hockey games (although AZ often loses), and go hiking with them. Some international students celebrate every American holiday in Tim’s house, including Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter, and just several days ago, some Chinese students celebrated their spring festival and made dumplings with them.
Jeeku Saha, MBA student from India, is a frequent participant at Friday Fun Night. Saha speaks for any T-Birds who have attended this event before, “The hospitality given to us by Tim’s family is incomparable, and Friday Fun Night provides a precious opportunity for us to be close to the local community and local American life, an experience which perfectly complemented our tense school life at Thunderbird. It feels like a home away from home. ”
As Tim always says, every international T-bird is welcome, so come join this Friday!
Please contact the writer for more information on this event: firstname.lastname@example.org