FRESH, FASHIONABLE APPROACH TO CHEAP INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
Inflated fuel prices have kept more families seeking ways of vacationing at home. The solution on the cheap for many American families is to host an exchange student. Non-profit organizations have a data base of students from around the globe who can be selected by country, gender, activities and interests that are suited to the host family.
The enthusiasm begins as family members come together to voice their preferences. Perhaps Mom will learn a few French cooking techniques by hosting a French girl. Dad’s anxious to teach a boy how to cast and reel. The teen-age son prefers a soccer or fussball buddy, and preteen daughter wants a big sister who can teach her Norwegian.
Bringing a new culture into your own home is only part of the fun. Most families say their favorite part of hosting is sharing their own world with the student. Seeing the student’s face as they enter a high school that’s 5 times larger than theirs, the tradition of Trick or Treating (you actually knock on stranger’s doors?), their amazement at skyscrapers and Willis Tower, their first Chipotle burrito, ….
Students bring their own spending money, so the host family’s only expense is to provide the student with 3 meals a day. The students also have their own medical insurance. They follow all family rules, local laws and curfew, and are expected to help with household chores. As parents do with their own children, the host family provides local transportation. Full academic year students attend school and may participate in co-curricular activities.
Hosting an exchange student brings cultural diversity into your home without ever leaving your community. One host student said, “I’m grateful to my family for providing this opportunity, because now I have lifelong international friends.” With the help of technology, they stay current by communicating through Skype and Facebook. He also said, “Sharing their world makes us think more about our own.”
A host mom found that the experience bonded her family. “As children progress into their teen years, they no longer want to participate in family activities. Sharing our everyday lives with the exchange student renewed our respect, appreciation and joy for one another. We laugh and have fun together as a family again.”
For additional information on hosting an exchange student contact:
Sandi Bersin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847.550.1990
Information on the Center for Cultural Interchange can be found on
“Travel the world and never leave home. Host an exchange student!”