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Sharing Your Home with the World

Posted by on Jun 16th, 2011 and filed under Between Friends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Summer time is the time when many local families open their homes to foreign exchange students. EF – Education First – Homestay Program works with families to host students from around the globe, offering a glimpse into the American lifestyle.

Students will be staying for three-and-half weeks from June 30 through July 27. All students speak English and will be arriving from Italy, Sweden, Denmark and Spain. Students must have their own bed and are to live in their host’s home as a family member. Prospective hosts are able to first review student profiles and can begin building a relationship through emails and letters weeks before the arrival.

There are few limitations on being a host family. Families include singles, retired folks, young married couples, families with young children and families with teens. For those with a large home, more than one student can be invited to stay.

La Crescenta resident Randy Drake is part of an experienced host family.

“EF stands for Education First, but for our family it means ‘Enjoying Friendships,’” Drake said. “The EF program allows our family to learn from and have an impact on the lives of young students from another country. The incredibly well organized program really blesses us with friendships that endear us to not only the students and their culture but also to their hopes and dreams as well. The relationships we develop each time that we host two students are priceless.”

EF students attend classes Monday through Friday studying English, American history and American culture in the mornings. In the afternoon, they board a bus and have organized tours throughout the southland. Students also have the option of taking a weekend trip to San Francisco with the group.

The busy schedule has some families wishing that they had more time available to spend with their guest students.

“She was gone before we knew it,” said Beverly deLucia who has also been a host family. “We selected a French girl because our daughter was studying French.”

DeLucia has fond memories of the close relationship that was forged with French student Jennifer Betton.

Betton wrote a note detailing her impression of her time spent in La Crescenta.

“I think of you every day and (don’t make fun of me) I dream of you for many nights,” reads the note. “I miss you so much! I have pictures of you just in front of my bed, so every morning I can see you. I talk about you to everybody. I always say that you are the best family! I have so many good reminiscences of this trip, the last time I thought about it, tears came into my eyes … I really would like to come back.”

Betton’s mother added, “This extraordinary memory will stay in [Jennifer’s] mind and in her heart forever. Thank again to allow Jen to experience such thing and realize her dreams.”

With 60-plus students having been placed in the Crescenta Valley for the summer, when meeting an exchange student, make sure and say hi – or hola – or ciao – or bonjour – or …

For more information about the EF program contact Bev deLucia at (818) 429-2528 or email heartink@ca.rr.com. www.efhomestay.org.

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