It's a tossup when it comes down to calculating who benefits more - the international students who have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a different culture and the families who host them. But it's clear that such experiences produce a strong bond between these students and their host families - one that lasts much longer than the length of the school year.
As the new school year approaches, Vallejo families are still needed to host students from China who will be studying in the US, thanks to a partnership between St. Patrick - St. Vincent High School and Gphomestay, an organization that matches host families with international students.
Recently Gpshomestay's Senior Outreach Specialist Jenna Rioux told us:
We've partnered with Saint Patrick Saint Vincent High School to set up a homestay program for a group of Chinese high school students ((aged 13-17) who will be coming to study this upcoming school year - August through June (10 months).We're looking for families who would be interested in hosting our students.
Just to offer you a little more information about our program:
• All host families receive a stipend of $1000 per month.
• The students will have their own insurance and spending money.
• The host family should speak English at home and ensure that the student eats three meals a day.
• The family should provide a bedroom for exclusive use by the student. Involving the student in family events and activities is ideal.
• The host family should ensure that the student is provided transportation to and from school on a daily basis.
• The host opportunity is contracted on a yearly basis (10 months). There are also short-term hosting opportunities available from time to time.
• Gphomestay supports all hosts and students with monthly check-ins to ensure they are receiving appropriate support."
Families can find more information at Gphomestay's web site where they can also fill out an application online. Rioux also says that she is happy to connect potential families with families who share their experiences hosting students in this program.
Contact information for Jenna Rioux:
The Cambridge Institute of International Education | gphomestay
Senior Outreach Specialist
1025 Main St, Floor 3
Waltham, MA 02451
Direct Line: 781-996-0771
Website: www.thecambridgeinstitute.org | www.gphomestay.com
Here are some hos family testimonials that Gphomestay's Senior Outreach Specialist Jenna Rioux provided us:
"It has been almost a year since John Gu came to this country to experience his new life as an international student. There are so many interesting details about having him in our family. Sharing our house, eating our delicious food, school shopping, going to school and getting excited to learn English as a second language everyday.
It is amazing how John was very quiet and afraid of his English pronunciation at first. Six months after, his knowledge of the language has improved tremendously. His school experience has been outstanding. He acts very differently now and his adaptation to American life is really unbelievable.
We hope whoever is interested in hosting students from China enjoys it as much as we are with John."
“Daniel (Zhou) puts a smile on our face. He is a typical 15 year old teenage boy having to learn how to pick up his clothes, turn off the lights, close the doors, make the bed, and he always asks ‘What’s for dinner?’ He has picked up more English words and phrases that he uses often when in conversation with us. ‘Are you kidding me’, ‘Unbelievable’, or ‘Who Knows?’
Being Italian means it’s all about the food. So we have engaged Daniel in cooking on the grill, flipping pancakes, making a pear pie, Ravioli, and pizzelle cookies. Daniel taught us how to make fried rice. Delicious! We signed Daniel up for piano lessons after he showed an interest in music and wanted to play our piano. He says after he learns the piano, he wants to learn the guitar. We really enjoy Daniel and accept him into our home as our son. He is learning our way of life and we are learning about his life. He told us one day, “A house is just a house, it is the people in it that make it a family and home.”
- Mary Traficanti, Host Mom