Foreign Exchange Students in Need of Host Families


Caleb Pendleton, Op-Ed Editor

Sam from Taiwan after his prom-posal to Jade

Have you ever thought about lending a helping hand to the kids in need of a host family? The High School Exchange Year is a project that the Education First (EF) Organization sponsors. They actively promote the students of their program, finding them families so they can experience America. They are mainly looking for families who have kids with high school students, but this is not mandatory. According to EF, “Each year, almost 3,000 EF exchange students come to the U.S. for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of living with a host family, going to an American high school, and becoming part of their local community.”  You can go to the website and check out where students looking for a host family come from: Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Thailand; you can also learn about different cultures and backgrounds of the students. You can even read about benefits of being a host for a child. Here are some of their favorite benefits:

First, You get to lean about the culture of the student, and teach them about your culture here in America. Second, If you have children of your own already, you can open their eyes to a whole new culture to teach them a little more about different parts of our earth and society. Last but not least of their list, when you host for a student you gain a new Daughter or Son, and build a lifelong relationship with someone across the globe.

Cyndi Dwyer time with her student Julian from Germany.

If you host for an exchange student, they normally stay with you for about one school year, but this could all be changed based on the students’ reasons. While you take care of these kids and enjoy the new members of your family. Cyndi Dwyer who is a part of the EF organization and a former host parent herself says, “Treat the students like they are your kids. Don’t be afraid to tell them to take out the trash or set rules for them.” The students have to go to camp before they go to the host family to learn about what is expected in America. When a student is chosen for you, you may choose to contact them to get to know them before you host them. If you would like to refer another family about this organization and be a reference, you can earn a $200 gift card for students and teachers, or adults will receive a $200 check.

Gilberto from Bologna, Italy, fishing in the White Mountains of AZ.

The organization around the nation has between 300-400 students in it. When you pick your student, you must go through background checks and your home will be evaluated by professionals. While looking for a student you may choose by nationality, gender, and even hobbies that can be shared. Every student is carefully picked for your accommodations, and they are fluent in English so you will not have to worry about teaching them your language, but you certainly can learn a language from the student you host for. With this, the students are very motivated to come and stay and be a part of your culture and your family. Their website is a very good tool to look at facts, details, goals, and even the purpose of hosting for a student.

If you have questions about this program, you may contact Cyndi Dwyer via email: [email protected]