By Jonathan Draper
Have you ever thought about hosting a foreign student in your home?
I did last February, and when I looked into it, I was recruited by international cultural exchange company, American Discovery, to offer the opportunity to other Hayward/San Leandro/Castro Valley-area residents for this summer.
Now, after more than three months of efforts, only four families have come forward to host the 12 French students who are set to arrive on August 2.
The students are coming here to improve their English and to broaden their horizons by getting to know Americans and seeing in person the California they've been dazzled by on TV and in films
Their home stay period is less than two weeks, and food and some transportation are the only costs. So I'm surprised that my appeals in schools, churches and service organizations haven't sparked more interest. To me, it's a priceless opportunity for local families to connect with a student and his or her family in France.
I spoken in French classes at Chabot College and area high schools, church youth Sunday school classes and service club meetings with little success. I've leafleted families at farmers markets, a science fair and the Rowell Ranch Rodeo Parade, but never got a call back or an email.
An article in the Castro Valley Forum did lead to a couple of host families. A couple of San Leandro High School French students' families also signed up.
I'm in shock. I know this isn't for everybody, but only four families out of the hundreds and hundreds of people I've contacted in the area? If sufficient families don't volunteer, the French students will be forced to cancel the trip.
Listed below are the following profiles of the French students still in need of a host family. If interested in hosting one of them, please contact me at 510-300-7022 or jonathan@AmericanDiscovery.net. For more information about hosting, visit www.americandiscovery.net/hosting.html.
French students seeking a host family:
Marie — 17 years old. Lives in the south of France near Bordeaux. Her father, David, is a plant manager. Mother, Veronique, is an agricultural project manager. Has a 16-year-old brother, Theo, and a cat. Loves photography, skiing, water sports. Likes to go to movies, shopping or party with friends. Favorite food is pasta. Says "I am very fun and smiling. I would like to improve my English level because today it's too low."
Florian — 16 years old. Lives in the north of France near Lille. His father is a teacher. Mother is in business. Concentrating on science in high school. Favorite subject is math. Plays tennis. Enjoys bowling and movies with friends. Favorite foods are fruits, pancakes and pasta. Says, "I hope there is an American teenager of my age in the family. I would love to stay in touch and welcome my new American friends to France."
Vincent — 17 years old. Lives in Lyon in the southeast of France. Studying
math, science, English and Spanish. His Father is a senior account manager and his mother is a homemaker. Has an older sister and brother, Marie and Guillaume. Loves mountain biking. Also plays tennis, volley ball and badminton. Goes to movies, plays video games, and listens to pop and rock music with friends. Has traveled to most countries in western Europe. Says, "It has been my dream to go to USA, to visit your country and know your culture and lifestyle."
Arnaud — 17 years old. Lives in Limoges in the center of France. His father died when he was 6. His mother, Joelle, is a chef. His sister, Estelle, is studying in Belgium. He's studying economics and business in high school, and plans to go to business school. Likes to shop, go to movies or watch TV with friends. He's passionate about rugby. He says, "I love this sport for its values: solidarity, conviviality, respect and friendship."
Gregoire — 15 years old. Lives in a little village near Bordeaux in the
south of France. His father, Richard, is a manager. Mother, Fabienna, is a
homemaker. Has a younger brother and sister, Armand and Clothilde. Has a dog. Feels his English is good but wants to improve. Says, "I'm a great fan of
American TV series. Also I like to cook (more exactly to eat what I cooked) and to read."
Violaine — 15 years old. Lives in Paray-a-Monial. Her father is a doctor. Mother is a professor. Has three siblings: Severine, Ludovic and Alexis. Has two cats. Doesn't eat meat. Likes to go to theme parks, play games and shop. Participated in a home-stay with a family in New York last August. Is looking forward to getting to know a family on the "left coast" this summer.
Brian — 17 years old. Lives in Orchies, near Lille in the north of France.
His father, Tonio, is a construction worker. Mother, Sabine, is a government official. Has a younger brother, Yohann and a dog, Ness. Favorite foods are meat, potatoes and vegetables. Enjoys sports, music, TV, hiking and going to movies. Plays soccer and ping pong. Says, "I would discover American life and improve my English. Waiting to meet you, please accept my sincere greetings."
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