BERLIN — A non-profit dedicated to promoting peaceful coexistence and respect between nations through student and teacher exchange programs, is asking North Country families to open up their hearts and homes to two students with a passion for the outdoors.
The female students — 15-year-old Lucia from Spain and 16-year-old Kanruethai from Thailand — will arrive in the U.S. soon and there is a growing need to find them a place to stay, said Virginia Doss, the Regional Director for Maryland, Maine, Virginia, Vermont and New Hampshire for Portland, Maine–based CIEE, on Wednesday.
The Council on International Educational Exchange, or CIEE, is a successor of the Council on Student Travel, which was founded in 1947. CIEE has been taking students and faculty from the U.S. to the world, and conversely bringing the world here.
In 2013, CIEE brought 1,500 program participants to the U.S., 120 cumulatively to Doss’ service area, including 15 to the Granite State.
“Our mission,” Doss explained, “is to help people gain understanding, acquire knowledge, and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world. We are always looking for good host families and local coordinators to help make sure the students that come here have an enriching stay.”
Any family, even a family of one can be a host, she said, adding that CIEE students have the appropriate visa, medical insurance and pay for all of their own expenses, with the exception of food and utilities. The students are here on a 10-month program during which time they will be enrolled in a participating high school.
Even hosting a student for two months, will be extremely helpful, said Doss, because that time can fill a gap that can be followed with a full-term placement being found.
Would-be host families are asked to fill out an online application at http://www.ciee.org/highschool/. Doss said a background check will be conducted and references will be checked.
The main requirement for a host family, she said, “is kindness and a willingness to learn about a foreign culture. Families who welcome a student will not only gain a new member, but will also learn about the world, its many values, traditions, languages, food, and more.”
Anyone interested in hosting Lucia or Kanruethai or another student, male or female, is asked to contact Doss via e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone at (207) 553-7812.