Wry Exchange

When Shouldn’t I Host?
08-09-07, 4:17 pm
Filed under: Exchange Program, hosting | Tags: , , ,

Please don’t host if you are looking for an Au Pair, maid, or babysitter.  Please don’t host if you want a live-in language tutor, or soccer coach for your child.  Please don’t host to convert a child to your religion.  Most of all, please don’t host if the exchange student program program isn’t reputable. 

My experience has been almost exclusively with a program that is a true exchange program.  We send out a student for each student we host.  Our students each have a counselor in his or her community, as well as the person who sets up the exchanges for each country, an inbound student chairman, and the overall program chairman.  We are all volunteers, dedicated to making the world better. 

 Every year, I meet students from other programs who are basically dumped in the states, and told ‘good luck.’  I think those students have a single area coordinator who means well, but doesn’t have the resources to oversee a group of students.  (Doesn’t that sound nicer than saying some greedy people try to accept and place as many students as possible for money?)  Some programs are strictly volunteer-run, while others offer incentives such as trip rewards or money. 

Before you agree to host, research the exchange program.  Don’t just check out the great website; talk to teachers and former students from the program.  Look for a program that puts the students first.


1 Comment so far
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Excellent tips on when to and when not to host, Wry. It is a fact that irresponsible people place themselves in a position to place eight, fifteen, thirty up to seventy students by a certain amount of time. No one cares whether the area coordinator “means well.” If a parent sends their son/daughter to another country to learn he/she was placed in a filthy, flea-ridden home with six other exchange students and told that the area coordinator “meant well” — this just isn’t going to fly. Too many area coordinators work for greedy organizations who absolutely do have ample “resources.” Visit http://www.guidestar.com to see how many multi-million “not-for-profit” student placement agencies you can find. And if the area coordinator doesn’t have the “resources” then he/she should never accept such a job wherein ultimately he/she is going to fail a young visiting teen and his/her family.

Comment by Jen

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