Although students are still in the midst of the current academic year, Forte International Exchange Association is already looking for volunteer host families to take in an influx of foreign exchange students who are aptly prepared to come to the United States for the 2015-2016 academic year.
Carol Berger, who has worked with exchange student programs for over 25 years, works alongside her daughter Susan Berger, who has been a local representative for seven years. Both claim that their involvement in the association sparked from their love of working with high school age exchange students, while also learning about their cultures.
“We enjoyed learning about their cultures and sharing our culture with them. This organization was able to help us do that,” said Carol Berger. “Now as local representatives, we work with the kids to find host families that share our interest in having high school age students learn about their culture.”
As hosts, families are responsible for providing room, board, and guidance to their foreign student. The association invites all potential families to apply, including couples, single parents, and families with or without children living at home.
“We are just looking for people who can provide a safe, loving environment for students, as well as provide a family atmosphere where students can relax and succeed academically,” said Berger. “Families will hopefully also guide students if they ever have any questions and concerns.”
As for the students, each comes with their own medical insurance and spending money from parents. Berger also reported that each student is expected to bear their share in all household responsibilities, normal activities and lifestyles.
“Families do not have to worry about buying them clothes for school or giving them spending money. Their parents take care of that,” confirmed Berger. “They are just expected to treat them like another child. Students just want to become a part of the family.”
For host families that might be interested, the next step is only an email or phone call away. Either Berger or her daughter will set up an appointment to interview the potential family, as well as help them fill out an application.
After successful completion of the aforementioned tasks and passing of a criminal background check, local representatives will find out the family’s interests and preferences to best match them with a foreign exchange student.
“This is a great opportunity for families to learn about new cultures, especially if they do not have the opportunity to go abroad themselves,” said Berger. “Families can learn new cultures right from students in their own home, and give students the opportunity to learn about our culture as well.”
For more information, call 863-2247 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Those interested are also encouraged to visit FIEA’s website at forteexchange.org.