POINT PLEASANT — An exchange student program offers a slice of diversity for area local families.
Mandy Stanley, coordinator of the Education First (EF) organization, places 10 to 15 international students with area local families yearly.
The EF organization, Stanley explained, is a non-profit, promoting cultural understanding by bringing in high school aged students to acclimate within the United States (U.S.) culture. The students range from 15 years old to 18 years old and are proficient in U.S. standard writing and reading. Stanley said the students come from 13 different counties within Europe and Asia and come with personal funds in order to pay for themselves while visiting. The EF organization places more students than any other student exchange organization shared Stanley.
Stanley explained the students want a U.S. typical high school experience as in attending prom and participating in various non-academic activities. The students want to become part of the family. Stanley said the students enjoy learning about the traditions of the U.S. and celebrating some of the American holidays. The students stay in the U.S. from August until June.
For individuals to be considered as a host family, they must be at least 25 years of age. Stanley explained the host family must also have a bed for the student. The potential hosts fill out an application and then go through a screening process by the EF organization. Stanley said the process takes approximately three weeks and once the host family is approved the EF organization will match a student with them. Ultimately, the host family can decide on the student they wish to host.
Stanley, who hosted a student last year and will be hosting a student again this year, shared host families learn a lot from the students and get to experience a piece of their culture.
For anyone interested in hosting a student, visit Efexchangeyear.org or contact Stanley at firstname.lastname@example.org, (304) 593-5030.
The EF organization has began placing students with their host families.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.
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