Published on 05/20/98

Host Families Needed for 4-H Students from Abroad

Students from other countries are coming to Georgia this summer. And the University of Georgia Extension Service is looking for families who would like to help them feel at home while they're here.

Petra Hauser, a 22-year-old horticulture student from Switzerland, will be participating in the International 4-H Youth Exchange Program (IFYE).

Hauser's interests include biking, swimming, skiing, dancing and playing the clarinet. She says she'd like to experience the lifestyle of her host family. Hauser will stay with each Georgia family for one month at most in her summer-long stay.

Nine 12- or 13-year-old Japanese students -- five girls and four boys -- will take part in the 4-H/Japanese Exchange Program for three weeks this summer.

All say they want to make new friends and learn from their host families. Their interests range from sports to crafts to caring for animals.

Georgia IFYE coordinator Greg Price says being a host to an international student is an easy, intriguing way to see the world.

"It gives you an appreciation for different cultures as the world grows smaller," he said. "You can make lifetime friendships from all over the world."

With the younger students, Price said, the host family must have a child of the same approximate age as the Japanese students.

"The emphasis is on the child," he said. "The child serves as the host. So what we're really looking for are families that each have a child who is willing to be a host."

Being a host is half of the exchange program. Georgia students also travel and stay with host families abroad.

The travel opportunities for Georgia students are over for the year. But it's not to late to "travel" while staying in your own backyard. If you'd like to host an international student this summer, call (912) 681-0179 to apply.

Heather Hardy is a student writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.