Frenship host families needed for foreign exchange students

Have an extra bedroom? Want to learn about someone else’s culture?

Jerri Beth Dunlap is hoping you’ll contact her if you can answer those questions with a “Yes.”

Dunlap, the local coordinator for Academic Year in America, is seeking host families for foreign exchange students for Frenship Independent School District, Lubbock ISD and Lubbock Cooper ISD.

This school year, she is hoping to bring six to eight students to the Lubbock area.

“Next year, it might be bigger,” she said. “I will bring as many as we have host families for, and the school will allow.”

Most students are already prepared to study in the United States, she said, and are waiting on a phone call to tell them where a host and a school are willing to take them.

Host families have no financial obligation for the students other than feeding them twice a day and providing transportation to school, which could be as simple as pointing out the school bus, Dunlap said.

“Anything that you would do with your own children, other than financial responsibility, you can do with a foreign exchange student,” she said. Students can do chores and everything a normal American student would do, she said.

Students can share a room with another child in the household, but they must have their own bed, Dunlap said.

“They (the families) do have to have a background check and home visit, and they have to fill out an application and be approved. That process doesn’t take very long at all,” she said.

Dunlap is so enthusiastic about the process, she will personally be taking in two students this year. One is from Germany and another is from Brazil.

“I had my background results within a week,” she said.

Taking in a foreign exchange student allows families to get a view of the world without traveling, and allows local educators to talk about history, culture, government and economics.

“Having a foreign exchange student enhances the school,” Dunlap said.

For more information about becoming a host family, phone Dunlap at 806-548-3838 or e-mail her at jerribethdunlap at gmail.com.

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