Learning a foreign language,enjoying the advancement of educational and cultural opportunities, supporing volunteerism, enriching someone’s life while enriching your own, these are all the benefits of hosting an international student, according to Janice Rake, coordinator for Greenheart Exchange Program.
Greenheart Exchange Program students seeking host families for the next school year are beginning to apply now, Rake said.
“The students are happy to live in any type of family scenario: family with or without children, empty nesters, retired couple, single person…..it does not matter,” said Rake. “They are just excited to come to America and have the opportunity. Most want to come for the entire school year but some come for only one semester.”
Host families complete an application process which includes a home visit, references and background checks.
“My goal is always to find a good family/student match so it is a positive experience for all involved,” she said.
“The host family provides a bed and place to study, three meals a day and needed transportation as the students are not allowed to drive,” Rake said.
The students bring spending money for personal spending, shopping and entertainment. Greenheart Exchange secures the VISA, arranges the arrival and departures flights, provides health insurance and monitors throughout the year. The student agrees to follow the guidelines of the program. Greenheart requires each student to fulfill some volunteer or community service work and expects high academic and personal standards.
Rake checks in and monitors the students progress throughout the school year, she said.
Included below are several of the students that have applied so far.
Olga, 16, from Poland, is an “A” student, who will come the first semester, enjoys reading, scouting, volunteering with a children’s group, drama, art, sports, nature, and travel. She has a fear of dogs until she gets to know them. She loves philosophy. Olga attends church sometimes.
Hannes, 16, from Germany, is an “A” student. He loves camping and motocross. His favorite classes are math, physics and PE. He likes sports but also enjoys baking. He works in a local grocery. Hannes attends church sometimes.
Alexandra, 16, from Germany, loves music, sings in choir, plays piano, likes archery, Taikwondo, biking and reading. She has a “B” average. She has a mild allergy to fur but this does not restrict her. She has a cat. She is a bit shy but sweet, friendly and open-minded. She attends church sometimes.
Oliver, 15, from the Czech Republic, is a “B” student. He plays piano and enjoys running, movies and music. He attends church sometimes.
Rebecca, 16, from Switzerland, is a “B+” student. She volunteers with a children’s group, plays guitar, enjoys swimming, reading and cooking. Her favorite subjects are Latin, French, geography and math.
Nicolas, 15, from Spain, is a”B+” student. He enjoys writing, movies,video games, cooking, He loves dogs but is allergic to cats. He wants to study journalism and be a writer. His religion is Catholic and would attend church sometimes.
Janice Rake is a former teacher and retired postmaster who returned to education when she retired and moved to Redfield.
She was a substitute teacher at Uniontown where she hosted a high school exchange student, Carol, from Brazil.
“I fell in love with Carol and the Greenheart student exchange program,” Rake said.
Since then she has hosted and placed 18 students at various area high schools.
“Every one has been a joy,” she said.
They have come from Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Albania, Vietnam, Thailand, and Hong Kong.
“The students have varied interests: sports, camping, scouts, art, photography, theater, writing, literature, robotics, music, cooking, travel, history, volunteerism, animal lovers,” she said. “They are mature, independent and enthusiastic about experiencing American school and culture and love sharing their culture. They offer diversity and expose our local students to a world outside their own.”