AFS, the largest and oldest exchange student program in the world, is looking for New Jersey families to host international students. This past school year, 40 New Jersey families hosted AFS students from overseas.
Host families open their homes and hearts to students, and provide them with a bed, meals, guidance, and support. There is no such thing as a typical host family. Host families are two-parent households with small children, teenagers, or no children at home, single parents, grandparents, and adults who do not have children. Families receive the support of AFS staff and volunteers; the NJ organization is very active, and works closely with AFS students and families.
AFSers participate in many school activities, such as sports, music and other programs. They particularly enjoy becoming a part of a typical American family. Most have average to high academic records, and moderate to good English when they arrive. They come with their own spending money, and medical insurance is provided through AFS.
AFS-NJ Area Team Leader Sue Fershing said, "Some people think they don't have enough time to do this, and that they have to entertain the students all of the time. The key is giving your hosted student experiences in daily living. Let them experience what it is like to be a part of an American family. They’re not a guest or someone on vacation. They become members of your family."
The students arrive in August, and attend local schools. They stay for the whole school year, and depart at the end of June. If you would like more information on hosting an exchange student, go to the AFS website at www.afs.org/usa