This week five local families will welcome six new members into their homes. EF Foundation for Foreign Study will have six students in our area schools. The students are Naoko Oura from Nagoya, Japan; Rina Sato from Setagoya, Japan; Natsuki Kato from Nagoya, Japan; Isabhell Dalin from Goeteborg, Sweden; Daniela Vasoncellos from Curitiba, Brazil and Carl Hieronvmi from Oberusel, Germany. The host families are Kathi and Thayne Benz, Barbara and George King from Storm Lake, Deanna and Daniel Frazier family from Sioux Rapids, Dana and Barry Anderson family from Spencer and Janet and Dick Dillard from Dickens.
Imagine the scenario: even though you may not be old enough to drive, you make the decision to leave your family, friends and your school to come to America to experience a high school year. This is a big decision to make, not to mention, a brave one. You finally get to America after many hours of flying and waiting for your next flight. You step off the plane, very nervous and full of questions. Will they like me? Are they really here to pick me up? What if my English is not good enough?
You turn the corner and you see them. Smiles on their faces, cameras flashing and a big sign that has your name in big letters saying 'Welcome to Iowa.' What a relief.
Every late summer, hundreds of caring Americans just like the Anderson's, Benz's, Frazier's, King's and Dillard's gather at airports across the country to welcome high school exchange students. Because they know that one-on-one cultural exchange is key to fostering the type of public diplomacy called for by leaders of our country, they open their hearts and homes to the experience of hosting an exchange student for a school year. By doing this they enrich the lives of their families, communities, schools and the exchange students, says Dick and Janet Dillard, Coordinators for EF Foundation.
EF Foundatio for Foreign Study has had volunteers like the Dillard's coordinating the exchange experience since 1979. Nearly 40 countries participate in the exchange program. There are still stuents available for someone to host for this school year in neighboring towns. These students are eager to learn who their host family will be. For more information on how you too can bring smiles to exchange student's faces, share your life and learn about another culture at the same time, call EF at 1-800-447-4273 or Dick and Janet Dillard at 712-260-9018. Promoting peace one person at a time.