Exploring the world without leaving the comfort of your home: that’s how Lauren Drabble describes the experience of hosting a foreign exchange student.
Drabble is the foreign exchange host coordinator for Conifer High School, and has five open spots for host families for the 2022-2023 school year.
Education First, or EF, the program that coordinates the exchange, brings students from all over the world.
“This is a great way to bring the world to their house,” Drabble said about host families.
She said it is never too early to get started in the application process, even if you anticipate wanting to host in the future.
Sixteen-year-old Fabian Kreher is a student from Stuttgart, Germany staying with a host family in Conifer. Being from the city, Kreher enjoys the open space and outdoor activities the foothills have to offer. He said the exchange has been eye opening for him.
“I’ve got a whole new perspective on other things, and that is really good. I found a lot out about myself,” he said.
His host mom, Christie Bell, had an exchange student when she was in highschool. She thought the experience would be beneficial for her son, an only child.
“This might be a really good way to expand the culture,” she thought when pondering being a host.
Kreher and Bell said that while small cultural differences (like the American use of “ish” at the end of words) caused confusion at first, overall the exchange has been smooth and fun.
“It goes by fast,” Kreher said.
Kreher came to Conifer in August 2021 and will stay until June 2022. His host family has enjoyed making memories with their new family member.
“The positive experiences are: we gained a kid, and we gained a family in Germany. We are planning to have them come here at the end of his exchange and we are planning to go there,” Bell said.
Bell sees the effect that the exchange has had on both families.
“I think we’ve really just made connections across the world,” she said.
Those interested in hosting an exchange student for the 2022-2023 school year or learning more about the program should contact Lauren Drabble at email@example.com.