Newtown families are being recruited to host 34 Chinese students, ages 13-18, from July 24 until August 12, through the Education First (EF) Educational Homestay Programs.
“It really is a life-changing experience with a very small investment of time,” said Newtown resident Lynn Hungaski, who is overseeing recruiting families around the Newtown area to host the 34 Chinese students who will visit America to study English as a second language this summer and is an English teacher for the program.
“The commitment in hosting is really providing a loving home, a warm heart, three meals a day, and transportation to and from school, which will be held at Edmond Town Hall,” she added.
The student visits are being organized by EF Educational Homestay Programs, a nonprofit that has organized escorted group travel for more than 140,000 international students since 1979. According to Educational Homestay Programs, groups of students from one country travel to selected cities in the United States to live with volunteer host families and learn about American culture first-hand.
Students participate in “structured English language and cultural courses taught by qualified instructors,” according to Educational Homestay Programs. Students also participate in organized afternoon activities and academic field trips. For example, this year, the students will visit Boston for a day, and New York City for a weekend, according to Ms Hungaski.
“They’re at school from 8 am to noon Monday through Friday, and then in the afternoons they are kept busy visiting different attractions throughout the greater Newtown area. Some days are spent at the beach, some at museums, and some shopping at outlet malls in the area,” Ms Hungaski said.
She also said host families are welcome to join students on the excursions or to pick them up after in the afternoon.
Ms Hungaski also said she will host one of the students coming this summer, as she has for the past two summers, first a French student and last summer a girl from Italy.
“Our family is still very close to these two girls,” said Ms Hungaski, “and we are looking forward to hosting a Chinese student this summer. It has been an incredible experience for our two daughters. They now have lifelong friends and pen pals around the globe! It has truly made the world a smaller place for our family.”
Ms Hungaski said host families can review student profiles and indicate a preference for the student(s) they want to host.
“Since we capture the students’ hobbies and interests, we can match them up to the interests and lifestyles of the families that will host them,” Ms Hungaski said.
Families can host up to four students. Students can share a bedroom with up to three people of the same gender.
Ms Hungaski noted that the high school students from the host families can also earn community service hours for hosting a foreign exchange student as well as credits towards their own international travel through Educational Homestay Programs.
For more information about Educational Homestay Programs and this summer’s program in the Newtown area, contact Lynn Hungaski at 203-858-4882 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Jill Tino at 203-906-5721 or email@example.com.