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When you host a foreign exchange student, your family will embark on an unforgettable cultural adventure.
By opening up your heart and your home, you will be giving an exceptional young person the opportunity of a lifetime - to live with your family and experience firsthand the language, customs and culture of our country.
There is no greater opportunity for bright, inquisitive teenagers eager to expand their knowledge and their worlds. In return, your World Heritage exchange student will bring a fresh new outlook on life and a bit of his or her native country into your home. It is truly the meeting of two cultures - not as a tourist, but as a "family" - learning from each other and living together. Each year, World Heritage offers North American families the opportunity to host girls and boys, ages 15 to 18, from Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand. World Heritage invites you and your family to participate in this invaluable cultural experience and help contribute to global harmony.
Having an exchange student in your home is much like having an adopted teenage son or daughter.
Of course, one of the primary goals of your World Heritage foreign exchange student will be to master the English language. However, all students are at least conversant in the language before their arrival, having studied it for a minimum of three years and many times even more. Therefore, your exchange student will be able to communicate with you and your family in his or her charming accent. By the end of the year, your student will be speaking our language with fluency, slang and all ! As part of the fun, your family will probably be learning some of your student's native language as well. This is no small benefit considering the growing importance of foreign languages in these exciting times of international change.
About the students.
Before a student is considered for the World Heritage program, he or she is carefully screened by our overseas offices. Students are selected on the basis of their high academic standing, good-natured and adaptable manner, and their curiosity and sense of adventure. The students who are accepted into the World Heritage program radiate their enthusiasm for learning about a whole new way of life.
When you and your student meet for the first time, World Heritage doesn't want you to feel like strangers. Both host families and students will receive information about one another ahead of time -- descriptions of the family, hobbies, studies, and place of residence. The student will be most eager to meet you. We suggest that you break the ice by writing to your new son or daughter before his or her arrival. Suddenly you become more than an application; you become their North American host family.
A priceless investment.
If you are concerned about the cost of hosting a World Heritage exchange student, rest assured; your financial commitment is minimal. You merely provide meals and a room. In fact, your student may even share a room with a child of the same sex who is close in age. World Heritage exchange students pay for their own round-trip airfare and provide their own complete medical and liability insurance coverage. Spending money is the responsibility of the students and their natural parents. Your most important contribution is far from monetary. It comes from your heart -- a willingness to welcome this student to your country and into your home by making him or her feel like a true member of the family.
Welcome a lifelong friend.
Having an exchange student in your home is much like having an adopted teenage son or daughter. World Heritage students expect and want to be treated as a member of the family, enjoying the privileges as well as assuming the duties. This entails full participation in the day-to-day activities of your family such as household chores, leisure time and recreation. Your World Heritage student wants to learn about your country as a "native", not as a guest.
As your student experiences daily activities with your family and within your community, you will discover a new way of looking at and appreciating those things you often considered commonplace. And as your student shares his or her customs with you, your entire family will discover a new culture -- right at home.
The mutual rewards of hosting a World Heritage student are far-reaching. Your student's classmates, instructors and your entire community will be enriched by interacting with your exchange student. As the school year goes by, your family will grow close to this new family member and will develop a bond that will span thousands of miles and last a lifetime. A tearful goodbye will come all too quickly, but with the closeness you have nurtured, you and your exchange student are sure to keep in touch. Some day, your entire family may visit your foreign friend as guests to his or her own country.
How to become a host family.
World Heritage is seeking families, couples or single parents (with or without children at home) who are adventurous, fun-loving, responsible, and most of all, caring. To begin this exciting cultural experience, you will meet with a World Heritage Area Representative and then complete an application form covering various aspects of your family, your community and your school.
Recruiting for World Heritage host families takes place in the spring and early summer months to ensure enough time for exchanging letters with your student before his or her arrival. Once your student arrives, your World Heritage Area Representative will be available during the entire stay to assist your student in adjusting to your family and his or her new school, community and culture. Of course, in the event of a real emergency, you may contact the World Heritage office 24 hours a day.
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©World Heritage Student Exchange Program 2004
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