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International Student Exchange Seeks Host Families

Submitted by Joey Stoops —

MOUNTAIN AREA — Forte International Exchange Association (FIEA) is looking for local families to host international students, ages 15 to 18, in Madera County, Fresno County, Merced County and Mariposa County areas for the 2016-2017 academic year.

FIEA is a Washington, DC based non-profit organization dedicated to international cultural exchange. It is designated by the U.S. Department of State as a J-1 visa exchange visitor program sponsor. Students are from Brazil, Norway, China, Germany and many other countries. All students speak English, arrive with their own money for personal expenses, and have full medical insurance.

Host families can be married or single adults, age 25 and older, with or without children. The hosts can have families or be empty nesters, and reflect the diversity of American culture. FIEA works to match students’ interests with families’ interests for the best possible match and the host family also has a say in which exchange student they think will best fit in with their own family.

Students bring their own spending money but host families provide meals and a bed. Students also have medical insurance. There is no pay. The Department of State regulations stipulate that no one, including schools, natural parents, or sponsors, may either directly or indirectly pay Host Families by cash or other incentives.The average exchange student is age 16 or 17, although ages can range from 15 to 18. Before the students arrive, host families go through an orientation, and when students arrive, both students and families go through another orientation together.

Local exchange program representatives are available to the students and families throughout the stay, which can be for one to two school semesters. Each student expects to bear his/her share of the household responsibilities as well as be included in normal activities and lifestyles.

Host families make all of the difference in the lives of these students. They influence a young adult’s life, change world-views, and make dreams come true. Families who are willing to give, have just as many rewarding and enriching experiences as the student. If you or someone you know is interested please contact FIEA Local Representative Joey Stoops, at (713) 294-3847 or email joeystoops@gmail.com.

Joey Stoops has been trained and certified by the State Department to connect host families with foreign exchange students. Forte Exchange is a non-profit organization that works with the U.S. State Department.



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