High School Foreign Exchange Student program
By Beth Driscoll
I am a Local Coordinator for a High School Foreign Exchange Student program, and I am proud to be part of something that I feel truly makes a difference in how America is becoming a more diverse, accepting society. The Council on International Educational Exchange gives people the opportunity to show America through our eyes.
Foreign Exchange programs became increasingly popular after World War II, when the American and European governments decided it might be a good idea to try decrease animosity between certain countries, and create a more culturally friendly environment. Since then, foreign exchange programs have flourished in the United States, as many teenagers from various countries have jumped at the opportunity to study here. American Teenagers also have an opportunity to study in different countries through CIEE with their scholarship programs.
Many local San Diego families open their homes each year to host these high school students for either a 5 or 10 month program. Bill and Joan Waterworth of Alpine are currently hosting Tim from South Korea, who is attending Granite Hill High in El Cajon. Joan and her husband were glad to have an opportunity to learn about another culture and share theirs, while having great companionship. Joan says that having Tim in their lives this past year has made them super happy. She is grateful that their Local Coordinator matched them with a student that shares so many interests with their family. Tim studies piano, and was able to share his talent by playing at the Waterworth’s church, where Joan is the Director of the choir. He has also joined a local Youth Group and has been able to go skiing, and visit Disneyland with another family he met. Tim likes to share some of his favorite foods with the Waterworth’s and even takes them to a Local Korean BBQ for dinner about once a week. Joan and Bill have been delighted with their hosting experience and hope to have Tim back with his family to visit in the future.
Many families may not have the opportunity to travel, but want their children to learn about other cultures. Hosting an international student can bring their culture straight into your home. Oftentimes families with their own children in High School like to host an international student because it provides their child with an ongoing learning experience and companionship.
Students come with their own spending money and health insurance. American families provide a bed, a place to study and meals when they’re not in school. Students can even share a room with a host sibling if they are of the same sex and close in age.
CIEE is currently looking for host families for the upcoming school year. Give a student the experience of a lifetime! For more information, visit ciee.org/highschool.