EF High School Exchange Year—a division of EF Education First, the World Leader in International Education—has kicked off its annual nationwide search for caring host families to welcome exchange students into their homes. Last year EF connected nearly 3,000 exchange students from around the world with families across the United States, and they are expecting to place the same number for 2018-2019.
“Hosting an international student is a truly life-changing experience, and we’re excited to find wonderful new host families in communities all across the country,” said Dan Sodervall, president of EF High School Exchange Year. “The exchange experience is as rewarding for the host family as it is for the student. You bring a new culture into your family and community, you fulfill an international teenager’s lifelong dream of living in America, and you form a lasting relationship that spans the globe.”
All EF exchange students are between 15 and 18 years old, coming from one of 13 countries around the world. Students live in the U.S. for one or two semesters and attend the local high school. According to Michelle Rothwell, an International Exchange Coordinator who helps find homes for exchange students in Imperial Beach, CA, host families come in all shapes and sizes.
“Host families really represent the diversity of American culture, coming from all kinds of economic, religious and social backgrounds,” said Rothwell. “Some are parents looking to give their own- children a glimpse of the world without having to travel themselves. Others have no children or their children have grown up and moved out, and they’re looking for new ways to connect to their communities. Still others just want to help promote global understanding right in their own backyard. There are so many reasons why families welcome a student into their home.”
EF High School Exchange Year, operated by EF Educational Foundation for Foreign Study, Inc., is a non-profit corporation designated by the U.S. Department of State to operate a J-1 student exchange program. EF brings more students to the U.S. each year than any other high school exchange program, and since 1979 the organization has connected more than 100,000 international students with caring host families across the United States.
Families in the United States but particularly in Imperial Beach, Coronado, San Ysidro and South San Diego, CA that are interested in learning more about hosting an exchange student through EF can contact Rothwell directly at 619-822-5638 or email@example.com, or visit efexchangeyear.org
To learn the benefits of being a volunteer host family, read our previous articles.