UPDATE: Foreign exchange students find hosts in Whittell High School service area
July 29, 2018
Both students identified in this article have found host families.
ORIGINAL POST: Foreign exchange students searching for hosts in Whittell High School service area
ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — A nonprofit that seeks to further cultural understanding by pairing foreign students with host families in the U.S. is in search of one or two families in the Whittell High School service area.
The call for volunteers comes after a host family backed out following complications stemming from a move, according to Bridget Wright, regional director for Council For Educational Travel USA (CETUSA), a nonprofit international student exchange organization.
A woman in Glenbrook went through the application process to host two foreign exchange students: Lucia, an 11th-grade student from Spain; and Kieu, a 12th-grade student from Vietnam.
Both students are slated to attend Whittell for the entire 2018-19 school year. Their visas have them arriving in the U.S. a week before the start of school and leaving a week after school ends.
The recent development with the previous host family is disappointing for two reasons: It leaves the two students in a state of uncertainty and it could represent an unfortunate turn in a location where Wright has struggled to get a foot in the door.
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"We have not had anyone at the lake the past few years … I have had a difficult time breaking into the area," said Wright, who is based in Placerville.
Host families effectively act as volunteers — they provide meals and a bed. The goal is to have the students become a member of the family, however, CETUSA does not want students to be a financial burden. Each student has medical insurance and they are provided with a monthly allowance to pay for other expenses, such as clothes, toiletries, prom tickets and other items. Host families also can receive a tax credit.
However, the greatest benefit, according to Wright, is the cultural exposure and motivation to get out and do more.
"I host two and it helps me to want to plan something on the weekend and go do something," Wright said.
All the exchange students speak English. The program is intended to further cultural understanding, not to give the students an American education. In general the participants come from good schools, Wright said.
For those interested in hosting, they do not need to be families. Single individuals can host, however, they will need to provide references who can help in the event of a medical emergency.
All hosts must pass a criminal background check. Those on public assistance — excluding healthcare assistance — cannot participate.
Beyond the two students who are scheduled to attend Whittell, CETUSA has over 200 students to place for the upcoming school year.
Editor’s note: This post has been changed to state “search” rather than “need.”