SOURCE: EF Foundation for Foreign Study

EF Foundation for Foreign Study

June 22, 2011 15:34 ET

EF Foundation for Foreign Study, the Nonprofit Leader in High School Exchange, Launches Campaign to Promote Global Awareness Through Hosting Opportunities

Organization Is Accepting Host Family Applications for the 2011-12 School Year

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - Jun 22, 2011) - Did you know that American families can play an important role in public diplomacy? Each year, the United States Department of State relies on Americans to serve as host families to international exchange students. As "citizen ambassadors," these families help foster positive impressions of the United States, a priority foreign policy goal for our country, and expose our own communities to new customs and cultures. EF Foundation for Foreign Study, which brings more exchange students to the U.S. than any other organization, is currently accepting host family applications for the 2011-12 school year. Students come from 25 countries around the world, including China, Germany, Italy, Norway and Australia, and all bring a curiosity and enthusiasm for experiencing the "real" America.

Each fall, nearly 30,000 high school exchange students come to the United States to live as an American teen. According to Homa Tavangar, author of Growing Up Global: Raising Children to Be At Home in the World, encouraging cross-cultural connections should be more than just a foreign policy goal; it should be a parenting goal too. "I've spent my career helping businesses and governments succeed globally. If our children are to successfully compete and collaborate with their international peers, global know-how and experiences need to be part of their education, as well as building friendships with people from other countries -- this has the power to shape character and open minds. From my personal experience, being a host mom to an exchange student, I've seen first-hand how vital those international friendships can be toward building a global mindset."

What makes a great host family?Host families come in all shapes and sizes. Volunteer families truly represent the diversity of American culture. Yet, despite a wide range of social, religious and ethnic backgrounds, families have one thing in common: a strong curiosity about the world.

What are the requirements of a host family? To become a host, at least one adult in the household must be a minimum of 25 years old. And all potential host families are legally required to submit to a background check.

What are the responsibilities of a host family? Hosts must be able to provide a safe and supportive home environment and be willing to play the important role of American mother or father. Hosts are expected to treat a student as a member of the family, not as a guest, and share everyday experiences and events, such as birthday parties, holiday traditions, evening meals, sporting events, movies and even household chores.

How are students matched with host families? Experienced exchange coordinators help families find students who share similar values and interests. Host families can make their choice based on the student's age, home country, gender and hobbies.

To hear firsthand how this program is changing lives, please watch and share this Public Service Announcement: http://www.westglen.com/online/america_ef.html.

For more information about becoming a host family for the upcoming 2011-12 school year, please visit EF Foundation for Foreign Study today at www.effoundation.org

About EF Foundation for Foreign Study

Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, EF Foundation for Foreign Study is the leader in high school exchange. A nonprofit committed to promoting international understanding and global awareness for over 30 years, EF Foundation brings more students to the United States each year than any other high school exchange program. Since 1979, the organization has matched over 100,000 enthusiastic students from around the world with caring host families across the United States. EF Foundation is designated by the United States Department of State as an Exchange Program Sponsor.

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