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.

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.

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