One of the many things I do is host at least one foreign student each summer through EF Educational Homestay Programs. My daughter and I have hosted since she was 18 months old (that was in 2010). Since then, we have hosted (note that we have only hosted a max of two at one time, we often hosted in two programs in a summer):
It's been fun watching my daughter bond with these students from around the world. At 2, my daughter called Masha from Russia "Russia" the whole time she was with us.
And she quickly became best friends with Sonja--though she certainly loved each and every student and adult we've hosted.
My journey to becoming a host mom (it still feels weird calling myself "mom" to these teens, though the longer the host the more I actually become old enough to be their mothers!) began when I was 16 and spent a month in Russia with 9 others from my school. We all lived with volunteer host families in Rossosh, Russia, and spent our days touring schools around the area. I was 16 then and finishing my sophomore year of high school.
The next school year, my family hosted Tanya from St. Petersburg, Russia, for a semester. During that same semester, we hosted Oksana from Rossosh for a month.
Two years later, I went and lived with Tanya's family in St. Petersburg, Russia, for five months. I was 18 year old.
After my daughter was born, I knew I wanted to host an exchange student, but a year, or even a semester, was too long. When I heard about EF in 2010 from a friend, I decided a month was doable and I requested a course leader so I could get my feet wet.
That was it. We haven't stopped hosting, and now host two students at a time, and sometimes host during two or more programs a year.
In 2015, I started working for EF as a program leader and recruiter. That means I seek out families willing to host a student (or more, up to four at a time) during the program, and then spend the four-week program going on all the activities with the students, being the local leader to make sure the program runs smoothly and that all the students get to the right place at the right time, and more.
The Atascadero program begins on June 16 when the students arrive. Students from France, Finland and Italy will depart on July 5 and students from France, Sweden and Russia will depart on July 12.
Host family responsibilities:
Our hosts come in all shapes and sizes and we welcome such diverse families as single parent households, empty-nesters and families with small or grown children.
Each day, the students will get English and cultural lessons with a full activities program that students will take part in every day and in the evenings too as well as excursions on the weekend.
Host families will attend a mandatory host family orientation prior to arrival to help them get ready for their students’ arrival.
As a "thank you" to volunteer host families, EF has a passport program, where a host family gets one sticker for each student it hosts. A family can host up to four students at a time, no more than three children of the same sex sharing a room. One bonus sticker can be earned by submitting the host family application by March 12. Once five stickers have been collected, they can be redeemed for $200 in reimbursement for travel; 10 stickers can be redeemed for $500 in reimbursement for travel.
Families that host can also get a $200 discount or rebate to use for another program.
In addition to seeking host families for this summer's program, we are also seeking groups to talk to or to distribute fliers. Ff you are a part of a group or organization and would allow us to come talk or give you fliers to pass out, please contact me.
For more information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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