Exchange program looking for host families

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:47

    SUSSEX COUNTY-The Pacific Intercultural Exchange, which sponsors exchange students, is looking for a few more host families for teens now arriving for semester and year programs. The organization's executive director, John Doty, said the students are all between the ages of 15 and 18 years, are English-speaking, have their own spending money, carry accident and health insurance, and are anxious to share their cultural experiences with their new American families. The organization has programs ranging in length from a semester to a full academic year, where the students attend local high schools. Area representatives match students with host families by finding common interests and lifestyles through an in-home meeting. Prospective host families are able to review student applications and select the student they would like to host match. As there are no "typical" host families, the organization says it canfit a student into just about any situation, whether it is a single parent, a childless couple, a retired couple or a large family. Families who host Pacific students are eligible to claim a $50 charitable deduction on their itemized tax returns for each month they host a sponsored student. For the upcoming programs, the organization has students from Germany, the former Soviet Union, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Macedonia, Hungary, Korea, Mexico, Australia, Yugoslavia, China, and many other countries. It is also participating in two special government-funded programs to bring scholarship students from the former Soviet Union as well as predominantly Islamic countries such as Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Morocco, Kuwait, Iraq and Qatar to the United States. Pacific Intercultural is a non-profit educational organization that has sponsored more than 25,000 students from 45 countries since its founding in 1975. The organization is recognized by the United States Department of State and is listed by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), certifying that the organization complies with the standards set forth in CSIET's Standards for International Educational Travel Programs. Sussex County families interested in learning more about student exchange or arranging for a meeting with a community representative should call 1-800-631-1818. The agency also has travel/study program opportunities available for American high school students as well as possibilities for community volunteers to assist and work with area host families, students and schools.