Foreign high school students anxious to learn new culture

Foreign high school students are scheduled to arrive very soon for academic semester program homestays, and the sponsoring organization needs a few more local host families. According to Pacific Intercultural exchange (P.I.E.) Executive Director, John Doty, 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. P.I.E. currently has programs to match almost every family’s needs, ranging in length from a semester to a full academic year, where the students attend local high schools. ‘We have had foreign exchange students in the past,’ said Brady Independent School District Supt. Max Gordon, ‘and we would certainly support any foreign exchange student interested in our school system. We try to work with agencies such as P.I.E. in the event that a student or family expresses an interest in our school district.’ P.I.E. area representatives match students with host families by finding common interests and life-styles through an informal in-home meeting. Prospective host families are able to review student applications and select the perfect match. As there are no “typical” host families, P.I.E. can fit a student into just about any situation, whether it be a single parent, a childless couple, a retired couple or a large family. Families who host for P.I.E. are also eligible to claim a $50 per month charitable contribution deduction on their itemized tax returns for each month they host a sponsored student. For the upcoming programs, P.I.E. has students from Spain, Germany, Latvia, the Former Soviet Union, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Mongolia, Italy, Paraguay, Australia, Sweden, Yugoslavia, China, Belgium, Vietnam and many other countries. P.I.E. has also been invited to participate in a special government-funded program to bring scholarship students from the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union to the United States. P.I.E. is a non-profit educational organization that has sponsored more than 18,000 students from 40 countries since its founding in 1975. The organization is designated by the United States Department of State and is listed by the Council on Standards for International Education Travel (CSIET), certifying that the organization complies with the standards set forth in CSIET’s Standards for International Educational Travel Programs. Doty encourages families to contact the program immediately, as it will allow the proper time for the students and hosts to get to know one another before they actually meet for the first time. Brady area families interested in learning more about student exchange or arranging for a meeting with a community representative may call P.I.E., toll-free, at 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.

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