Q:

I wanted to write and tell you about the long-term benefits of hosting students from foreign countries in your homes. When he was 14, Pablo spent a summer with our family in a program sponsored by an organization in Spain.

Everything worked out so well that he spent every summer in high school with us as well as part of his senior year in high school. Our family visited his family in Spain twice, and his visited us twice.

Today, 33 years later, I am still emailing back and forth with his mother, and our son and his wife recently visited with Pablo and his wife in Spain. This has been a great cultural exchange, including the fathers talking business and economics during visits.

Now, I know that not every instance of hosting will turn out so fabulously; however, most give lasting benefits to hosting families. -- For Foreign Exchanges

A:

Your letter stresses the benefits of hosting students from abroad. This column's authors have both hosted students from Europe and forged lasting relationships with these students.

Many high school language teachers as well as schools have ties with hosting programs. It is important to choose one that screens both the students and host families. If a student's high school does not have reliable information on hosting programs, you should contact these resources: www.afsusa.org, www.ciee.org or your local Rotary Club.