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Host families needed for foreign exchange

Posted: June 16, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 16, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Two local foreign exchange programs are looking for families to host students, ages 13 to 18, over the summer.

Students will travel from Spain, France, Germany, China and Russia to attend classes in Santa Clarita, visit beaches and go to Disneyland as part of exchange programs organized by nonprofit organizations Education First's Educational Homestay Program and Santa Clarita International Exchange. Families are invited to accompany students on trips and attend parties where families and students build lasting international relationships.

For both programs, hosts provide beds and meals for students and spend some evenings and weekends with them. For Education First's Educational Homestay Program, families also transport students to nearby bus stops.

Nikki Beck works with the Santa Clarita EF Homestay Program and will welcome 135 students from France, Germany, Spain, Russia and Hong Kong in the next month.

Thirty students and three chaperoning teachers still need homes for a 26-day visit from July 5 to July 31 or July 12 to Aug. 7. Substitute families are available to care for students during host family vacations.

Beck and her family are veteran hosts. "We have had 25 students from nine different countries over the past nine years," Beck said. "And we have five kids. For my kids, personally, it brings geography to life. My kids now have pen pals and Facebook friends around the world."

Patty Stephenson, a Saugus High School French teacher, created the nonprofit organization Santa Clarita International Exchange to help fund Saugus High's eighth annual China Exchange program.

The organization is hosting a separate English Immersion Summer Camp from July 14 to Aug. 1 for 25 Chinese high school students and three teachers. The teachers and 12 girls still need host families.

The organization funds half of the host family's field trip fees.

Stephenson recalled when her own host father told her: "I can't afford to send my children around the world, but I can bring the world to my children."

To participate in the EF Homestay program, contact 661-755-6152 or To participate as a host family for Santa Clarita International Exchange, contact or call 661-714-6615.



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