Augusta families host foreign exchange students
September 8, 2021
A foreign exchange student is someone who decides to travel abroad to a different country to attend school. This year the high school is currently enrolled four foreign exchange students and another is planning on arriving later this month. The foreign exchange students currently enrolled are from three different countries which include Spain, Sweden, and Japan.
Foreign exchange programs allow foreign exchange students the chance to study abroad. The processes can vary between programs and countries on the steps in becoming a foreign exchange student.
“People usually reach out to you if you have hosted in the past or heard about you through word of mouth. Then you will fill out a lengthy application, go through an interview process, and take pictures of your house showing it’s a suitable living environment,” host parent Kristey Williams said.
Hosting a foreign exchange student can be a challenging task for some families especially when it is their first time. Making sure that the student feels comfortable in a different environment is one of the reasons there are host families.
“This is my first year hosting a student. So far our task has been adjusting her to our different schedules like school,” host parent Nathaniel Straub said. “She does a good job understanding what we say or mean, but sometimes she sometimes struggles to put her thoughts into words for us to understand.”
For some families hosting a foreign exchange student is common especially when hosting one more than once. Dual hosting is allowed which is hosting two foreign exchange students at one given time.
“Our past experiences have been very positive for our family, and learning about different cultures has been great,” host parent Jessica Parmley said. “It has been our 11th year hosting, and this year we are dual hosting.”
Learning about a different country’s culture is one of the reasons that foreign exchange students come to study abroad. Each family has some traditions that other families don’t, which is an opportunity for foreign exchange students to have an American family experience.
“We are looking forward to sharing our holiday traditions and her sharing her with us. She brought us some Swedish candy when she came here and we are looking forward to eating more of that,” host parent Audrey Neuschafer said. “We have had fun sharing foods and have plans for her to cook some of her foods for us. We have had so much fun hearing about how things are different from her culture.”