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ef welcome

EF Education First International Exchange Coordinator Jan Becker of Hot Springs, center, stands with other foreign exchange host families from the area during a welcome ceremony at Rapid City Regional Airport in 2012.

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HOT SPRINGS – If you’ve ever considered hosting a foreign exchange student, there are two – a boy from Germany and girl from Norway – who would love to become of part of your family in Hot Springs for the upcoming school year.

“Host families really represent the diversity of American culture, coming from all kinds of economic, religious and social backgrounds,” said EF Education First International Exchange Coordinator Jan Becker of Hot Springs. “Some are parents looking to give their own children a glimpse of the world without having to travel themselves. Still others just want to help promote global understanding right in their own backyard. There are so many reasons why families welcome a student into their home.”

All EF exchange students are between 15 and 18 years old, coming from one of 13 countries around the world. Students live in the U.S. for one or two semesters and attend the local high school.

Becker said one of the EF exchange students arriving in August is a boy from Germany. He is very bright, has a warm personality and is a very active person who likes to exercise. Sports play an important role in his life, so he would love to join a sports team in his American high school.

He hopes to play football and experience the American high school spirit. He is responsible, honest and has a good sense of dry humor, Becker added. He is open-minded, reliable and tolerant. He is not afraid to ask questions and is looking forward to his year as an exchange student. He is excited to live the American way of life. He sees this year as a huge opportunity that will benefit his future plans and can’t wait to meet his host family and his new friends.

Another exchange student coming to Hot Springs is a girl from Norway. She is a happy outgoing girl who shows great interest in the American culture. She is very positive as well as well- disciplined and independent. She has great academic skills and is very respectful. She is also a very active girl with great interest in volleyball. She is not afraid to try out new sports.

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Her main motivation is to experience a new culture and take part of the High School spirit. She is open-minded and not afraid of a challenge. As an only child, she would love to have a sister and/or brother in America.

Families in Hot Springs that are interested in learning more about hosting an exchange student through EF can contact Jan Becker directly at 745-5935 or jan.becker@effoundation.org, or visit efexchangeyear.org

EF High School Exchange Year, operated by EF Educational Foundation for Foreign Study, Inc., is a non-profit corporation designated by the U.S. Department of State to operate a J-1 student exchange program. EF brings more students to the U.S. each year than any other high school exchange program, and since 1979 the organization has connected more than 100,000 international students with caring host families across the United States.

Last year EF connected nearly 3,000 exchange students from around the world with families across the United States, and they are expecting to place the same number for 2014-15.

“Hosting an international student is a truly life-changing experience, and we’re excited to find wonderful new host families in communities all across the country,” said Dan Sodervall, president of EF High School Exchange Year. “The exchange experience is as rewarding for the host family as it is for the student. You bring a new culture into your family and community, you fulfill an international teenager’s lifelong dream of living in America, and you form a lasting relationship that spans the globe.”

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