“I don’t have enough room. My kids are all out of the house. My kids are younger. They will be bored. I don’t speak the language.”
The list goes on with the explanations I get each year as I ask people to open up their homes to a student from abroad. I get it. I do. It’s hard to commit to the unknown; let alone someone unknown.
Five years ago I became a course leader for the non-profit Education First International Homestay Programs (EF) because I remembered how much it touched my family to host exchange students while I was I growing up. I still have those connections today. I also brought the program to our area because I didn’t want our community to miss out on educational and cultural opportunities that flourish in bigger cities.
However, I can only keep this program here if I can find host families in the area. Because of the economic recession, it’s been even tougher to convince families to commit to hosting. It does not take a lot to be a host family though. If you are able to provide a bed (they can share rooms if you have a student within 3 years of age and the same gender), three meals a day, transportation to and from the local drop-off point—TBD on Issaquah/Sammamish plateau—twice a week, and a stable caring environment—then you have what it takes to share your life with an eager student from abroad. We are still in need of 15 more host families for this summer’s trip.
We have a group of 35 high school students coming from Spain from July 7th to July 30th. That’s three weeks. I know our volunteer host families lives are busy, especially during the summer. That’s why hosting with EF is the perfect balance, as our program is less than three weeks. Think about taking that leap into unknown territory this summer! By hosting a student, you introduce your family to an exciting new global experience and gain exposure to a another culture, without having to make a long-term commitment.
You are just a summer away from cultivating long-lasting friendships and promoting cross-cultural connections in our community. Veteran host family, Melody Christensen, comments, “The most rewarding adventure we have experienced! Great memories and lifetime friendships. Can’t wait for this year!” Now is your chance to open up your home and heart to students from Spain. What are you waiting for?
For more details about hosting please go to: www.summerexchangestudents.com. If you would like more info please contact Sara Qualls at 425.518.1636