Local Families Connecting with Students Across the Globe

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Updated: 9/03/2013 3:57 pm
Officials with the Education First Foundation for Foreign Studies say that the rate of exchange students is staying steady and growing every year in Idaho. 

It's that time of year when many of our foreign exchange students are arriving and the Baird family who is hosting two exchange students this year is having one more fun summer weekend before school starts at Jensen's grove and at the fair.

"I think to have a better view of what the world is like some where else and that is why I came here. To experience what it is like to not be in my own country," said Tim Vanleeuwen, an Exchange Student from the Netherlands.

Being a host family is a volunteer position and the only thing you must provide is a good home including meals and a bedroom. The exchange student comes with everything else they might need, including monthly spending money. 

"These students have gone through a really intense application process and there is a lot of kids who don't get into the program because their English is not as good, grades weren't good enough, maybe they weren't mature enough. These kids are the cream of the crop kids that we get over here," said Joanna Baird, an International Exchange Coordinator and Host Family.

The Baird family says there are multiple benefits, but the biggest ones are making connections across the globe and learning about different cultures.
"I think probably the biggest benefit that I have received thus far is getting the chance to go over to their country and visit them and their family and making these close connections clear across the world," added Baird.

When selecting an exchange student you can choose gender, age, country, and you can even look at their interest to find out which one would be the best fit for your family.

These kids though are most looking forward to the food, team spirit at schools, and overall experiencing American culture.  

"When you are in Germany you hear about the U.S. a lot and you want to see everything like the cites, culture, or even the grand canyon because stuff like that is really awesome," said Marius Repenning, a German Exchange Student.

The EF Foundation is currently looking for families to host half year exchange students that will start in January.  For more information on hosting an exchange student you can visit www.EFFoundation.org.  

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