International exchange programs looking for host families

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Right now, there are 16 exchange students that will be placed in homes across Western New York, but there are hundreds of others on the waiting list.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — After a few years of travel put on halt, because of the pandemic, international student exchange programs are back in full swing. To keep up with the high demand, organizers are looking for more host families.

Right now, there are 16 exchange students that will be placed in homes across Western New York, but there are hundreds of others on the waiting list.

Students have not been able to travel these past few years, and now exchange programs like Education First High School Exchange Year are helping connect families with students.

Host families have the option of hosting for five or ten months. These students come from 13 countries in Europe and Asia.

Mary Keller has been a host before and is now an international exchange coordinator with Education First.

She said when she was younger her family used to host students and over time, she said they felt like additional family members to her.

Even now, as most families do, the communication keeps going, years after their time together ended.

“It makes me feel loved. It makes me feel important, like I never had a brother, well inside the home. So having him, it felt like he is my big brother, he made me feel happy. When I went to Spain, he was there. He brought me all over town. He showed me where the school was and he was like this is my American sister Mary,” Keller said.

She went on to say the new exchange students are scheduled to arrive in August and it’s not too late to sign up.

For more information, you can contact Mary Keller through her link at efexchangeyear.org/iec/mary-keller.

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Natasha M. McKnight

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