“It’s a good opportunity for the families because they get to know someone from a different country and a different culture,” said Bo Ellsworth, local coordinator for the Center for Cultural Interchange. “They get to learn something from the students, and the students get to learn something from them.”
The Center for Cultural Interchange is a Chicago-based non-profit founded in 1985. According to the group’s website, its mission is to promote cultural understanding, academic development, environmental consciousness and world peace.
Ellsworth said exchange students with the organization typically do a project that somehow helps the environment, like cleaning up parks.
“That’s what sets our program apart,” he said.
Ellsworth said the times exchange students spend in the U.S. can vary. Some spend an entire year, others just a semester. He said CCI also offers a summer program where the students stay for anywhere from two to four weeks.
Ellsworth said the host family experience is on volunteer basis, meaning they are not reimbursed for any expenses while housing the student.
Those interested in becoming a host family can apply online by logging on to https://www.tfaforms.com/236744. Ellsworth said a background check and vetting process is required for each applicant.
For more information about CCI, log on to http://www.cci-exchange.com