Letter: Host a Foreign Exchange Student

To the Editor:

Baseball. Barbecues. Birthday celebrations. Wouldn’t you love to share Vermont with a high school exchange student from one of 70 countries? These young people have a sincere desire to experience and understand America by participating in the everyday activities your family takes for granted.

The Program of Academic Exchange (PAX) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing mutual respect among the people of the world. PAX promotes and arranges international student exchanges to foster the positive development of the world’s young people and to support international peace, friendship and cross-cultural understanding.

The students are chosen to participate in the program based on their academic ability, maturity level and English skills. They come with monthly spending money, health insurance and an active local coordinator (me!) who works closely with them throughout the year. The teens are eager to know the real America, not the America on TV or the America reported in the news.

Volunteer host families provide students with a warm welcoming home, a bed, a place to study and a seat at the dining table. This is an incredible opportunity to “bring the world in” and be part of a culture. It is a way to put into practice the values of openly accepting others and extending a helping hand. Students will take home what they like about our society, and as a result, the exchange may have a far-reaching impact. Hosting an exchange student enriches both the family and the student.

I am currently looking for families in the Upper Valley who are interested in hosting a PAX student. You’ve got so much to offer. Contact me and check out the PAX website for more information.

Carol Harry

PAX Community Coordinator