LAFAYETTE — School may be out for the summer, but plans are already in place for the upcoming school year in regards to getting foreign exchange students enrolled. The Greenheart Exchange Program is looking for ten families to host international high school students for the entire upcoming school year.
“A lot of international students want to come just to experience different cultures here,” says Jeannie Grainger, the local coordinator for the program. “They’re used to what they have grown up with back home, and a lot of them want to get out for their senior year, to experience the culture and learn about the area to see if they want to go to college here.”
While the program aims to benefit the exchange students, it also benefits the family hosting them by opening them up to a new experience and teaching them about a different culture without having to leave their homes.
“I would say that eight out of ten of the host families have children and that is the reason they want to bring these international children into their homes,” says Grainger. “That child can often teach their children a foreign language and of course pass along their customs and traditions to that new family.”
Grainger says that she lived in a household with a foreigh exchange student from Korea a few years ago. She says the experience and the things that she learned from her were more beneficial than she could have ever imagined. Grainger says that she still talks to her today.
“I still practice all of those traditions and food ideas that she brought into my life,” she says. “That will never change and it will stay with me forever.”
Grainger encourages families who are looking to open themselves up to experience a new culture to consider hosting a foreign exchange student this school year.
“That’s exactly what a host family will get,” she says. “Their lives are going to be different because they are going to learn about and experience this brand new culture that they have never known about and they will be able to keep that with them for years to come.”
Right now, the program is looking for ten families to host in Lafayette. Five of those students will be enrolled into Comeaux High School, while the other five will be enrolled at Acadiana High.
If you are interested in hosting a student, or if you want to learn more about the program, you can visit their Facebook Page, or contact Jeannie Grainger directly by calling 337-255-4881 or emailing her at [email protected]
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