Host Families Needed For Study Abroad Program

Education First, an international language company that focuses on breaking down barriers of language, culture, and geography through cultural exchanges, educational travel, language training, and degree programs, is looking for host families in Newtown for its Educational Homestay Program (EHP).

EHP arranges escorted travel for students in other countries to live in a selected city in the United States, to improve their command of the English language and learn about American culture. EHP has organized a program this summer from July 16 to August 4, and is looking for host families in Newtown who can accommodate Italian students.

Host families are expected to provide their international student three meals a day, a bed, and transportation to daily classes that focus on the English language and American culture. The classes are held at Edmond Town Hall Monday through Friday. Classes start at 8:30 am, and end at 5 pm.

Area Manager Janet Forbes said a host family does not necessarily have to be two adults with children of their own; a single person could qualify as a host family. She also mentioned that inflatable mattresses can be lent to a host family if they do not have an extra bed. Ms Forbes emphasized that the ideal living situation for the international students would be a “welcoming open home with open hearts.”

According to Ms Forbes, Newtown hosted French students last year and provided an ideal setting for students to experience an American lifestyle.

“It feels like Americana,” Ms Forbes said. “Students like it. Newtown has a nice Main Street area, they like the general store, they got a great sense of a Connecticut lifestyle. Then we take them to New York City.”

In addition to offering classes, the program organizes field trips to cultural events and locations, including baseball games, the Basketball Hall of Fame, Yale University, New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia. Ms Forbes, who has hosted students the past two summers, found her experience to be enjoyable and action packed.

“I like a lot of activity and with the students there is always something going on,” she said. “While you can kick back with the kids at the house, there’s always an opportunity to do something if you choose to and it makes the time active when the students are there.”

Ms Forbes said the connections she has made to international students in the past and the opportunities the program been a worthwhile and satisfying experience.

“Opening up their world and making a friend, that’s the most rewarding thing. When I see that kids see the world from a new lens and make friends with people they didn’t expect to, that’s the best thing that comes out of it,” Ms Forbes said.

Those interested in becoming a host family can contact Ms Forbes by e-mail, Janet.Forbes@ef.com, or call 203-435-2122. Additional information about EHP can be found on the website www.efhomestay.org.

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