Host a Student with USA Connections

USA Connection is an exchange program that is currently
looking for host families (who are compensated!) who would like to have a
student from Spain join their family for a few weeks this summer.  Interested? Here are some details! 

1) Tell me a little about your organization and how you got
involved




We have always enjoyed intercultural experiences, since we  ourselves are an
international couple, and we have traveled, lived in different countries, and
speak different languages. Last year, for the first time, we decided to extend
that experience to others by inviting a carefully selected group of Basque
teens to stay with American families during the month of July.  It was a great experience for everyone.  After last
year’s great experience, we were really motivated to do it again!



2)
What’s one of your favorite exchange stories from students?
 

One of our more conscientious students forgot to change the timezone on his
cellphone alarm. So, on his first night with his host family he went to bed at
a relatively normal time only to get up, shower and go down to have breakfast
at 1:00 a.m. all the while wondering how American’s could sleep so late on a
week day!



Another was at a 4th of July pool party, and was the only one to
notice when a toddler fell into the pool. He quickly jumped in to pull the
toddler out.



3) What’s
one of your favorite exchange stories from a family?
 

One of the families from the Lake Ridge area
enjoyed the experience of having one of our youth so much that they want to host
the same student again! They’ve kept in touch all year and are even planning on
being the first family to do a full exchange with our program by sending their
daughter to Spain to stay for 3 weeks with their host student’s family.



4) What’s
involved in hosting a student?

 

Nothing special, really. We do ask that our
student have a private bedroom and that Spanish not be the primary language of
the host family. Other than that, they should do their own laundry, help with
basic chores and go where your family goes.

If your family goes to
church, take them to church. If one of your children has a softball game, take
them to the game. The only “extra” thing would be to drop them off at
the pickup point for our 2 day trips and when we take them to summer camp- and
pick them back up, of course!



The families, in general, aren’t expected to pay
the students way. They travel with their own pocket money. They also travel
with full medical and liability insurance in the case of any mishaps.

Having a teen in the
family is preferable, but not necessary. Children that they can interact with
is a requirement though.

5) Where do students come from? What do they like to do?

Our students come, primarily, from the Basque
Country, a small nation between Spain and France. Most
of the Basque live on the Spanish side of the border.  Because of the
Basque Country’s unique situation, most of our students are trilingual, with
Spanish, Basque and English. A few speak French as well.



Our students are very similar to kids in the US. The boys like soccer and video
games. Many of them surf if they live near the coast. The girls tend to be
athletic as well, playing soccer and field hockey. Basketball is also very
popular. It’s common to see groups of teens hanging out on a park bench talking
and playing with their cellphones just like kids in the U.S. In the summer, they
tend to spend the day at the beach.



6) What kind
of support is offered to host families?


We try to be as supportive as
possible. We travel with the kids from Bilbao to Paris and on to Dulles and
help make sure they arrive with their host families safely. We stay in the area
for the entire trip, so we’re available any time to help out with any issues, like
homesickness or illness, that might come up. We give families basic
instructions on what is expected of them while hosting one of our students, as
well as a list of appropriate activities that they might want to consider. We
also invite family members to come on day trips that we organize and the going
away party.



We also offer a stipend to the families to cover the cost of having an extra
person in the house.

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This is a sponsored post brought to you by USA Connections.  PwcMoms has not participated in the program and makes no explicit or implied claims about your family’s experience.