Host an exchange student

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 May, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 May, 1998, 12:00am

Hong Kong families can now host a teenager from another country on a student exchange.

American Field Service (AFS) Intercultural Exchanges is offering families the opportunity to take a student into their homes for the 1998-99 academic year.

Aged between 16 and 18, these students will come to the SAR from 15 countries such as Turkey, Spain, New Zealand and Brazil to learn about Hong Kong life and Chinese culture.

In doing so, they also learn how to relate to different people.

They will study in local schools, and will be keen on interests such as music, computer science and aspects of Chinese culture, for example, calligraphy and tai chi.

As exchange students they will be committed to adapting to local culture and to learning the Cantonese dialect.

The best environment for this would be the home of a family who would like to open their hearts and homes to these youngsters.

To host an exchange student can be deeply rewarding for everyone in the family.

You do not need a spacious living environment, as long as you can provide the love and support these teenagers need.

Host families provide meals and accommodation, while the organisation pays for school fees, books and transportation to school.

The student becomes a member of the host family.

Volunteers are assigned to students and families for guidance and support throughout the period of stay.

If a family cannot host for an entire year, they can still take part by hosting a student as a 'welcome family', providing a temporary home for students when necessary.

AFS is also seeking host families for six-month periods, and for those who would like to play host some time in the future.

AFS Intercultural Exchanges is a non-profit, volunteer-based, international student exchange programme.

It is one of the most diverse student exchanges and currently operates in 56 countries.

The AFS mission is to help young people, families and communities to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world through international student exchanges.

These programmes enable young people to act as responsible citizens working for peace and understanding.

The programmes AFS creates to meet these goals have been mostly secondary school exchange programmes that allow young people the opportunity to live and attend school in another country and culture, live with a local host family, and thereby come to know the people, their values, and their ways of life.

Since its inception in 1947, AFS has sent over 250,000 students on inter-cultural exchanges all over the world.

Its Hong Kong office, which opened in 1982, has sent nearly 1,000 Hong Kong students abroad, and hosted over 150 foreign students in Hong Kong schools and placed them in homes with families.