Cultural Exchange Program Looking for Pasadena Home to Host Italian Exchange Student

Friday, August 3, 2018 | 1:41 am

An international cultural exchange program based in Henderson, Nevada is looking for a home in Pasadena who’s willing to host an Italian girl who’s coming to study in one of the schools in the City.

The program is being administered by International Cultural Exchange Services (ICES), which facilitates the issuance of F1 visas required for foreign students to be admitted to schools in the United States, and arranges with American families to host the students during their stay.
The exchange program primarily is private school-based, although ICES also work with some public schools, says Hannah Watts, F1 Program Coordinator at ICES.

“The students come here on the F1 visa, which is a student visa, and they study for either a semester or a full year,” Watts said. In this case, with this student, it’s actually short term, so it’s only going to be for a few months and it’s an academic program. But it’s also a cultural exchange program and so the students come here, they live with their American family and ideally, you know, it’s a really positive experience, not only for the student, but also for the family and also the school and the classmates.

Foreign students interested in the exchange program have to have a certain level of English language skills that would allow them to follow along in their classes and communicate adequately with their host families once they are admitted to American schools.

Watts said they also require students to have at least a C average, or its equivalent in foreign schools, to be admitted to the program. As to age requirements, the program allows youths from about 13 or 14 years old up to 18 years old.

“Some school will take students at 19, but usually 18 and under,” Watts said.

American students desiring to study in schools in other countries also go through ICES to avail of the cultural exchange program, which facilitates their admission to schools in Europe, Latin America, and Asia where ICES has working arrangements with.

The requirements are basically similar, Watts said, including a certain level of proficiency in the language in the country where they intend to study.
For families willing to host foreign students, Watts said the hosts have to be at least 25 years or older.

“It can be a single parent, or it can be two parents in a home with kids or without kids,” Watts said. “We tell our partner agents that the host families come in all different kinds of accommodation – that’s just what an American family looks like.”

Interested hosts are required to complete an application that has basic information, provide photos of the home, and have everyone in the home who’s 18 years and older have to have a background check run by a company accredited with ICES.

Host families must also have a genuine interest in the cultural exchange, in hosting a student and getting to know the student and just exchanging cultures, Watts added.

The ICES provides a stipend to cover a portion of the costs of hosting the foreign student, “to make it a little bit easier to host,” she said.

“A lot of people might not know that there is even an opportunity to host a student, and I would definitely say that they should consider thinking about it because it really is a life-changing opportunity for the students and for the families as well, and getting to meet someone from another country that you might not ever have the opportunity to visit that country,” Watt said. “It’s just a great way to learn something new and make a really positive change in the life of a child.”

For more information about the cultural exchange program, visit the International Cultural Exchange Services website,








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