Group Needs Host Families for Asian Exchange Students

TAMPA (2011-8-12) -

A national group is looking for a few good Bay area families to host exchange students this school year.

The Laurasian Institution brings high school students, most entering their junior year, over from Japan, China and Korea to study in America. Local coordinator Michelle Carling says for that to happen, they need families of all shapes and sizes to offer up their homes.

"We don’t discriminate," Carling says, "it could be a single mom, it can be a married couple with kids, without kids, younger children, older children."

She says there's no need to be concerned about a language barrier; in general, the students are fluent in English.

"They have gone through a lot of English lessons in their home country; most of them have about ten years experience learning English in school."

Host families should be ready to encounter young people who are intent on exploring America, while also possibly needing support.

"We usually find that they’re very adventurous and excited to see new things, excited to be in a new place," Carling adds.

“Of course, not knowing anybody, they want to feel like they have a home that’s safe to come here to, they want you to be able to introduce them to your friends, to your family, just make them feel at home and teach them about the American culture and anything that they might need to know along the way when they’re coming from a foreign country.”

Carling also says that suitable home stay families are those that can:
•commit to hosting a student for a few weeks, one semester or the entire academic year;
•provide moral support and advice regarding day-to-day concerns that may arise.
•provide room and board for the duration of the commitment that has been made to the host school. A student can share a bedroom with a host sibling of the same sex, but should have his/her own bed, study space, and storage space.
•arrange some means of transportation between the host family’s home and the host school, either school bus, public transportation, riding with host family, walking, or bicycle.

Host families will not receive reimbursement, but the students are covered by health insurance and will have their own spending money.

If you’d like more information, you can call Michelle Carling at 813-205-8807 or you can visit the Laurasian Institution's webpage at www.laurasian.org.

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