Do you have room in your heart and in your home to host a young person from another country for the 2017-18 school year? Would you like to learn about another culture while sharing the American experience with an eager student? If this opportunity piques your interest, Gidget Vickers would like to speak with you.
Gidget owns and operates The Watermelon Patch on the historic Hendricks County Courthouse Square in Danville, and she is also the local coordinator for Foreign Links Around the Globe (FLAG). She has three incoming sophomores from other countries, each of whom are looking to spend a year in Hendricks County, going to school and immersing themselves in American culture.
Since 1989, FLAG has been sending American foreign exchange students overseas and finding year-long placements for international students in the United States. Gidget and her family have hosted several students over the years, and her experience has been so rewarding that she recently became the local coordinator for FLAG, covering a 120-mile radius around Hendricks County.
Right now, there are three international students — two girls and a boy — who would like to spend their sophomore years of high school in our area, and Gidget needs to find them host families. Two of the students are from Vietnam, and the third is from China.
So what’s involved in hosting an international student?
Host families fill out an application, have a background check completed, and then a home visit is conducted to make sure the American home is a good fit for the international student. The foreign exchange student will need a bed — a real bed, not an air mattress on the floor or a futon or anything like that, Gidget says — but can share a bedroom with a child of the same approximate age and same gender. Hosts then get a one-page biography on the student that they will be hosting.
Meanwhile, the exchange student has been filling out an application, having a background check done, and otherwise completing a thorough vetting process by FLAG. The student then gets a student visa, has their own insurance and some spending money, and awaits a host family.
Upon placement with an American host family, the international student arrives, enrolls in school, and immerses himself or herself in our culture in the role of an additional child to the host family. Exchange students go to school, play sports, join clubs, often take driver’s education, socialize, and make lasting friendships — just like any other American student. At the end of the school year, these students return to their home country having enjoyed an enriching, valuable life experience.
Does being a host family sound interesting? Time is of the essence for Gidget, as the three international students are ready to spend the 2017-18 school year here in Hendricks County, which means they need placement with a host family quickly.
Gidget says that a common misconception is that an American host has to have children. That is not true. FLAG doesn’t require hosts to have kids at home, making this a perfect opportunity not only for families with kids, but also for empty-nesters, retirees, and single people.
All a host needs, Gidget says, is room in their heart and in their home.
If you would like to learn more about FLAG — especially if you would like to host one of these three international students who want to spend the next school year here in or within a 120-mile radius of Hendricks County — please contact Gidget at (317) 518-2980 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foreign Links Around the Globe (FLAG)
- Gidget Vickers, local coordinator
- (317) 518-2980
- Three hosts sought for 2017-18 school year
- Two international students are girls; one is a boy
- All three are incoming sophomores
- Two are from Vietnam; one is from China
- Time is of the essence; please contact Gidget today!