Host families needed in Indian Lake

INDIAN LAKE - When Maggie Blackman whips up a dish of Italian pasta, she rests assured her method has been approved as authentic. Although she has never taken a cooking class in Italy, she has experienced Italy and other cultures in her own way, by hosting international students.

"I've hosted four international students over the years with Educatius," says Maggie. She was originally asked to host a student by a friend who was part of the program.

The benefits have been more than she could have imagined. "These kids truly become a part of my extended family, and it's a joy to see them improve their English and experience life in America through their eyes."

"It's a commitment for a host family to welcome a foreign student under their roof," advises Melanie Smith of Educatius International, "especially during the first weeks, when a student experiences a period of cultural adjustment.

"However, we provide orientation and support for the student and host families throughout their stay."

Educatius International places international students with host families for an academic semester or year, with students arriving this month in Indian Lake.

Students from countries diverse as France, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Turkey, Russia, South Korea, Italy and Germany are enrolled in a local high school and participate in sports, arts programs or other extracurricular activities -- programs which are often not offered at schools in their home countries.

Since a high level of English is required, host families find communicating with international students is less a challenge than they expected.

A host family must be willing to share daily life with an international student; provide a separate bedroom with bed, desk and closet; and pass an interview, home visit and criminal background check.

All Educatius International host families are paid a stipend. "Yes, the stipend helped," commented Maggie, to offset the cost of feeding an extra teenager. "However, I would host a student even if there were no stipend.

Educatius International is still looking for qualified host families in Indian Lake. To be a host family this fall contact right away.