Interested in Sharing Westport Island?
CIEE is seeking host homes for foreign exchange students
Henrik, an 18-year old boy from Sweden; Youngju, a 15-year old girl from South Korea; Warithorn, a 16-year old boy from Thailand; and Blanca, a 16-year old girl from Spain are seeking host families for the coming school year. Virginia Doss, Regional Coordinator for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), would like to hear from you if you might like to host a foreign exchange student for 10-months beginning in August.
CIEE is a Maine based non-profit that partners with the State Department to find host homes for and supervise foreign exchange students. For over 65 years, they have been helping to create pathways of understanding and appreciation between people and cultures. This year, they are hoping to place 25 students in Maine. Westport Island is an ideal home for students who may come from dense population centers or may have an image of the United States as all pop culture, careless consumption and fast living.
Hosting a foreign exchange student is a two-way adventure. Host families showcase life in Maine while they learn about the life and culture of their student guest and part-time family member. CIEE makes an effort to pair students and host families based on hobbies, interests and family lifestyles. All families are welcomed: with kids, no kids, empty nesters, single parents and retirees. The main requirement is kindness and a willingness to learn about a foreign culture.
Students have their own insurance and spending money. Host families provide food, shelter and a family life. The only financial incentive is a $50 per month “host family” tax deduction.
Islanders remember hearing the adventures of Brenda and Paul Bonyun and their Japanese exchange student, Hitomi. Hitomi became a part of their family — so much so that she returned to the Island from Japan to attend the wedding of son Caleb and Samantha Hodgdon. Brenda and Paul would likely have some insights to share with anyone who might like to host a student. For more details on the CIEE program, call or email Virginia Doss at (207) 553-7812, firstname.lastname@example.org.