Change a Life by Hosting a Student from Europe This Summer

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Part of the fun of hosting a foreign student is experiencing one’s own culture by seeing it through their eyes. (Contributed photo)

The world has become a much smaller place than it used to be, and that’s in part thanks to cultural exchanges like one that is about to take place in the Saucon Valley area.

But some young people who are part of it are still waiting for local families to host them.

The rewards of a program like the one run by Compass USA are many and are enjoyed by both the students who will visit the U.S. and the families who will host them.

Compass USA Youth Program Coordinator and local resident Leah Cassellia said the French and Spanish teens who are part of her program will arrive for a three-week homestay in the Lehigh Valley on June 29, returning to their home countries July 22.

“The teens come with their own insurance and have group trips to some of the major hotspots like New York City and Philadelphia,” she said. “It is an AWESOME opportunity for families to be exposed to another culture, right in their own home…and better yet, experience American culture through the eyes of a person from another country.”

Students live with their host family for the entirety of their stay, doing whatever they are doing, speaking English and going on trips with the teens in their groups, she explained.

Host families earn a stipend at the end of the stay, and to be a host family there simply needs to be more than one person in the household and the student needs their own bed to sleep in. The student can share a room and Compass USA can even provide an air mattress if necessary.

“We are struggling to find homes for these teens, as we have typically been able to count on folks who have hosted before and their referrals,” Cassellia said. “After two summers of the program being dormant due to COVID, we need more help getting the word out.”

Cassellia is currently working to place four teenagers from France whose profiles appear below, plus five teens from Spain. If you are interested in hosting a student please call her at 516-318-1817 or email as soon as possible, she said.

“Having hosted several times, I can attest to the amazing experience it is,” Cassellia said. “We like to say, ‘Miles apart….forever in our hearts.’ This sums up a relationship you have with an international exchange student, when you become a host family.”

French Students in Need of Host Families

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