Last updated: April 12. 2014 9:11PM - 526 Views

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DAYTON — Dayton AFS is accepting applications from local families or couples interested in hosting a high school exchange student for the 2014-15 school year. Homes are especially needed for the Fairborn and Yellow Springs area.

Each year more than 2,500 Americans open their homes and share their lives with AFS exchange students from around the world. The students who are available from over 55 countries join their local hosts in August shortly before the start of the school year and return home at the end of the school year.

There are those coming from very untypical countries like Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Pakistan, and Gaza on full government scholarships, but there are also many applicants from the usual countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. All have studied English, some of them for over eight years, and come prepared to experience the day-to-day family life of an American teenager, improve their English, and share their own country’s culture with their hosts and host high school.

Throughout their stay, AFS volunteers plan special events, social gatherings, and orientations for the host family members and the AFS student. A volunteer is assigned to each hosting family and student to give support on a regular basis.

Many hosts of AFS students have been single parents and “empty-nesters” as well as two-parent families. Hosting two AFS’ers at the same time is also an option taken by some homes without children. Hosting an AFS’er of the opposite sex of your own child (a chance to have the “brother” or “sister” they never had) is often encouraged if the family has interest.

All AFS’ers have full medical insurance and come with their own spending money. The primary expense to the host is to provide food and to pay for the AFS’er when with the family on outings.

Many area high schools are soon closing their acceptance of foreign exchange students for next year, so those interested should contact local volunteer hosting coordinator, Marla Gamble, at 937-233-6190 or email mjgceramic@aol.com.

For more information go to AFS website for research and to indicate interest to be contacted about hosting at www.afs.org.

Information about programs for American students to go abroad are also available, some with scholarships, and usually 5-8 students from the Dayton area go abroad with AFS annually.

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