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Just a few days ago I received a notification on my Facebook page about two students who are gluten free and part of a foreign exchange student program, Youth For Understanding USA, hoping to be placed in a gluten free home. I was very intrigued by this for a few reasons. First, we've hosted a foreign exchange student in the past so I have a little bit of experience. Prior to this recent correspondence, I was unaware that there was a foreign exchange program supporting students with outside-the-box requirements. And third, I have wondered if my son (who wasn't at all interested) would ever be able to experience this type of opportunity, being that he is gluten and dairy free. So this, more than a little, caught my attention!
After a couple of email correspondence, learning more about this program, and hoping that there might be some able and willing families out there, I wanted to make sure to share this information with you. Unfortunately we are not at a place right now that allows us the opportunity to partipipate in this program. But I can assure you that hosting a foreign exchange student was a fabulous experience and one in which I feel so lucky our family was involved. Perhaps you will find a new gluten-free student in your home this next school year.
Here is one of the emails I received. It contains a great deal of initial inforation about the program. For more information, or to get started finding your student, be sure to click on the links below.
YFU USA is a national program, so even though I am in Ohio and you are in Minnesota, you can still find out about hosting our celiac students. If you are interested, then I will put you in touch with the Minnesota contact.
Thank you again for being open to the idea of hosting an exchange student. I really do believe it is an experience that impacts not only your immediate family, but your extended family, friends and people in your community. I’m hopeful that your family will enjoy the experience and that any students you host will become part of your family for a very long time.
I really appreciate that you have already learned about our organization. Here is a quick overview about hosting with YFU. I’m also attaching a Common Concerns and Q&A sheet for you to read through.
Our program runs from August until June, so that is when students arrive & depart. Host families can be married couples with or without children or single parent homes with or without children. Having high school aged teenagers in the home is not required; many of our students truly enjoy having either older or younger siblings, or being the “only child” and not having to share mom and/or dad’s attention.
Many people think hosting entails more expenses to the family than it does. Besides a family atmosphere, here is an overview of what YFU volunteer host families are required to provide:
Although Host Families are not paid to host an exchange student, the experience does come with rewarding benefits:
Students come with their own:
You can read through lots of information about hosting with YFU at www.yfuusa.org
If your family is considering hosting, we will need to contact the school to see if they still have openings.
If you are still interested in opening this opportunity to your family, you will need to fill out our new online Hosting Application prior to being able to view student photos and beginning the student selection. Click here online host family application to get started so we can begin our process.
Thank you so much again for your interest. We would look forward to working with your family.
Youth For Understanding (YFU) prepares young people for their responsibilities and opportunities in a changing, interdependent world.
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