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Hosting a student is diplomacy at the most critical level. Imagine you and your family can make an impact on someone from another country in 25 days- that will forever shape their opinion about the united states and the people who live here! By hosting you break down stereotypes, and misconceptions! It also opens your families eyes to new cultures! It is like traveling without leaving home!
Every year, thousands of American families volunteer to serve as host families, inviting foreign teenagers into their homes and into their lives. The decision to host a foreign student may be based on a variety of family interests, such as an urge to learn more about the world. Some other reasons maybe:
• The desire to give a student from abroad a chance to experience life in the USA.
• The opportunity to examine and compare values.
• The host parent may have been an exchange student themselves.
• The simple reward that comes from contributing to a young person's growth and development.
The students discover the USA through meaningful experiences, family life. Not hotels and sightseeing tours. Both families and students realize that people from both countries have the same goals and aspirations. Viewpoints are widened, and lifelong friendships are formed.
Whenever we ask friends to consider hosting, they often come up with reasons as to why they cannot do it. We have come to understand that it is not a question of not being able to host, but rather not really wanting to host, which is OK! We would never want to place a student in a family that were not really on board with it, or if they wanted to host for reasons which were not in the best interest of the student.
Here are some of the reasons why people say "I can't":
• We don't speak Spanish (Students are for the most part fluent and it is fun to play charades)
• We don't have room ( kids can be doubled up for a few weeks or share a room with your student)
• We travel for vacation- If room allows your student can travel with you.
• We are at work during the day (ok, this is a good reason, but if you have kids their age at home they can hang out with then, why not??)
• We do not have teenaged children - most host families have young children. teenagers tend to be too busy!
• I am a single parent (it's ok they have those in Spain too)
• We can't afford it (They come with their own spending money)
I will now list some reasons why it would be great for your family:
• Exposure to a new language & culture
• If your child is studying Spanish, they can practice with an actual Spaniard
• Your children will behave better (for a while anyway) because they will want to be considerate of their new sibling
• You will love showing off what is typical "American"
• It will delight you to see things through Spanish eyes. For example, your student's first S'MORE, or the discovery of crystal light, goldfish crackers, & Doritos
STEP is a reliable organization, with more than 20 years of experience. STEP places over 350 chosen Spanish students every summer in the United States and Canada.
Click here to link to the U.S. State Department's website for Student Travellers.