The local coordinator for international students is looking for area host families to open their homes – and their worlds – to these French students.
“International exchange is important for cultures to experience the differences in each other’s way of life, language, food, and education. It really is an educational program,” said Arlene Gonzalez, local coordinator for Horizons Du Monde.
Gonzalez, who works for Lancaster School District, coordinates educational international student exchanges year round through the EF Foundation for Foreign Study, a nonprofit organization committed to promoting global awareness.
This summer, Gonzalez is working with Horizons Du Monde to welcome French students, mainly from Paris, to the Antelope Valley to experience our local culture.
Two groups of French students will be visiting the Antelope Valley for about three weeks this summer, Gonzalez says. The first group of students, ages 15 to 18, will be visiting from July 11 to August 1, 2013. The second group, ages 13 to 18, will be visiting the Valley from July 30 to August 20.
There are about 18 students in the first group and 16 students in the second group, and Gonzalez is seeking one local host family per student. The ideal host families are involved in the community and have children around the ages of the international students; however, host families are not required to have children, Gonzalez said.
“The mandatory requirements are that students must have their own beds… and families are required to house and feed the students,” Gonzalez said. Host families are not paid, but Gonzalez says the experience makes it all worthwhile.
“[Families] are doing it for the purpose of exchange of cultures and for the educational experience for their children,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a very exciting and eye opening experience, especially for our youth here in the Antelope Valley. Most of them have never sat and spoke and exchanged information about lifestyles, so this gives them a chance to do that.”
As a local coordinator for the program, Gonzalez will conduct activities twice a week with the students. The students will spend the rest of the time with their host families, as the main focus of the program is for students to experience an American family while perfecting their English.
“The students that are coming have all studied the English language for at least three years,” Gonzalez said. “Most of them are proficient, but they would like to perfect their studies of English as well as experience American culture first-hand.”
“The biggest reason families should participate is because it establishes a positive understanding of different cultures,” Gonzalez added.
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a host family to a French student this summer, contact Arlene Gonzalez at 661-492-6339 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.