EF Foundation for Foreign Study is currently seeking area residents who wish to host a foreign exchange student for the 2008-2009 school year.

“The students come from all over the world,” explained EF coordinator Ann Dick.

She explained that hosts are allowed to choose what country they would like their students to be from, what gender they would like them to be, and even what sorts of interests they would like the students to have.

“We allow people to specify whether they want a sports minded student or more of a book type,” Dick said. “We allow parents to go over the students’ applications to see if they think it will work.”

Students must complete a rigorous application process before they are considered by EF, she noted.

“The students are screened very carefully,” Dick said. “Not everyone is accepted.”

Most of the students who apply to the EF program are interested in learning more about American culture and perfecting their English skills.

The host family provides room and board for the student, while the student brings his or her own health and liability insurance and spending money.

Students arrive in August, and Dick hopes to have four families ready for them when they get here.

“We don’t require luxury, but we do want to place students in nice clean comfortable homes with lots of love and care,” Dick said.

EF, which has been placing exchange students in this area for 27 years, is a great way for families to make lasting connections with students from other countries.

“It’s a wonderful way to bring countries together,” Dick said. “The families never cut the ties. The kids come back to visit after they leave – sometimes they come back after they are married and have their own kids.”

Dick said the EF exchange program has been highly successful in Grove and around the area.

“It works,” she said.  “I have seen it work. Students may arrive skeptical, but I have never had a student in 20 years who said they were happy to go home. They all want to stay another year.”

Anyone interested in hosting an exchange student may contact Dick at 1-800-462-7172 or visit the EF website at www.effoundation.org.