By Jon Watje
Host families in Minco are needed for a group of foreign exchange students eager to learn about the American culture.
Angela Owen, a coordinator for Education Travel & Culture (ETC), said she needs two more host families to spend either a semester or entire school year with students from other countries.
“This is the second year I have worked with local schools to coordinate the student exchange program,” Owen said. “Last year we had three host families for four students who were from Germany, Italy and China. They attended Mustang High School and it was great for not only the students but the families as well, as they made life-lasting friendships.”
Owen said volunteer host families are an integral part of the ETC exchange student program as they provide room, board, a quiet place to study, and an American family experience for guest students during their semester or academic year in the United States.
“After a family contacts me saying they are interested, I perform a background check on that family and visit their home to make sure the students are in a safe environment,” Owen said. “After that, the family then looks through a profile of students to select which one they want to stay with them.”
ETC students come from many countries throughout Asia, Europe and South America with English skills to succeed in a public American high school.
“Students are required to take a test to show that they can communicate with their host families,” Owen said. “We screen for well-rounded individuals who are excited to learn about American culture. Students come with their own medical insurance, and spending money for entertainment and personal expenses.”
Owen said students range from ages 15 to 18 and she notifies Minco High School about their arrival before they enroll in classes.
“Our host families make life-lasting relationships with our students and, in fact, one of our host families from last year are planning to visit the country of their exchange student to learn about their culture,” she said.
Owen said she encourages interested host families to contact her before the school year begins.
For more information, call (405) 464-3139 or visit www.edutrav.org.