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Nacel Open Door looking for local families to host exchange students
Feb 27, 2013 7:46 pm
A student exchange organization is looking for local families with room in their homes and hearts to host foreign exchange students. It's an opportunity to expose families to other cultures without them ever leaving home.
Nacel Open Door is a nonprofit student exchange organization dedicated to international understanding and language education. The group is hoping families in Lebanon and Wilson County will be open to sharing their families and discovering the joy of experiencing another culture by welcoming a foreign exchange student this coming school year.
The organization is seeking host families in the Wilson County area for students ages 15-18 who will arrive in August and stay for either a semester or a full school year - about 10 months. The deadline to apply to be a host family depends on the school system.
"They will take host families as long as the schools will take new students," said local representative Jennifer Tarkington. "Most schools will take up to five exchange students per year, but the schools have to sign off on everything."
Students are from all over the world, including countries such as China, Germany, Spain and many more. Host families provide a family environment and room/board. Students provide their own health insurance and spending money.
“Nacel Open Door's nonprofit program represents an excellent opportunity for students from another country to learn about the United States while participating in American family and community life,” said Tarkington. “This would be a great way to expose your family to life outside of the United States.”
Host families are desperately needed this year, but anyone who has lived with a teen can understand how inviting one into a family can be fraught with difficulty. But Tarkington said in the unlikely event of a bad fit between host family and student, steps can be taken.
"Every family has a local contact person," she said. "It's rare, but it has happened, but these kids have gone through a lot of screenings, they are 'A' students - the cream of the crop."
She said students from Nacel have come to Wilson County before in Mt. Juliet, and there is currently an exchange student living with a family in Hendersonville.
"He's having a wonderful experience," she said, adding some the best host families are the ones who have teens in the home.
For more information about serving as a host family, go online at nacelopendoor.org or contact Tarkington at 615-406-4808.