Saturday, May 30, 2009

Change starts with you - open your home and your heart to an international exchange student.

My name is Amy Larison. I am a local coordinator with ETC in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Change starts with you – become an ETC host family, host school, Local Coordinator, or international exchange student.

I am reaching out to you to see if you would be interested in hosting a foreign exchange student or know someone who would be interested. Economically speaking, times are tough and finding families has been difficult this year. I am hoping you may be interested or know of a nice family who would make a great host. We accept all kinds of families; kids, no kids, empty nesters, single parents, and so on. The main requirement is kindness and willingness to learn about a foreign culture.

Our students have the appropriate visa, medical insurance and pay for all of their own expenses, with the exception of food and utilities.
ETC Local Coordinators across the United States believe that international exchange is a life changing experience for young people and their community, and a wonderful way to bring people from different countries together.

ETC Local Coordinators work with four diverse communities-host families, exchange students, their local community, and host schools. For ETC, Local Coordinators are one of our most important tools, as they are at the center of the exchange process-giving the experience personal and local support that is invaluable for all parties involved.

The CIEE USA High School program began in 1995 in response to the need to offer a quality program for international students to participate in American high schools and interact with host families and communities for 5 or 10 months. The CIEE USA High School program has grown from a handful of students and countries to include more than 55 nationalities represented in a group of over 1,300 students each year.

ETC is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to quality exchange and global learning opportunities. ETC is designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor our students on a J-1 visa to attend high school in America. We are also approved by the Council on Standards for International Education Travel (CSIET).

We have a great group of kids assigned to Texas for the  school year. Many of these kids are talented and would love to join clubs in their American High School. These kids are excited about the opportunity to live in our great state! They ask some cute questions: "Are there horses in Texas?" "Do you have a nice family for me?" "Are schools like in the movies?” “Does everyone wear boots and a cowboy hat?” The kids are nervous but excited at the same time. ETC is trying to best accommodate these students, so perhaps you can help us. Hosting an exchange student proves to be a great promoter of diversity and diplomacy for the local communities, which is one of our first and foremost goals.

All students come for 5,10 or 12 month programs. Host families are volunteers. As a host family, you need to be 25 or older. You can be a single person, single parent, parent of grown children, etc. Each student has their own spending money and insurance. As a host family, you would provide transportation to and from school, three meals a day, a bed and a place to study.

I ask you to help by please passing this along to anyone you think might be interested in welcoming a student in their home or who you think would make a great host family. We still have students hoping to come to Texas who do not have a host family lined up for them as of yet.

Finding quality host families with true hearts can be challenging. We value referrals from community leaders. We would like to donate $50.00 to your church, school or organization for a referral of an individual who would work with us and be successful at placing an exchange student with a host family. We would also donate $50.00 to your church, school or organization for each family willing to host a student.

Amy Larison

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