Host families sought for Japanese exchange students

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Matt Gardner
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Organizers of a student exchange program are urgently seeking host families to provide accommodations for Japanese students over a four-week period this summer.

Prince Albert Daily Herald

Sixteen students from all corners of Japan will be coming to Prince Albert on July 26 for a four-week intensive English course that will last until Aug. 23 -- part of an exchange program organized by the Global Partners Institute (GPI).

GPI regional manager for Saskatchewan Jeannette Eddolls said on Tuesday that she currently has placements for 12 of the 16 students.

“I did have 15 of them filled up and then three families backed out on me,” Eddolls said. “Some of the families I had them in January, February, but people make their minds up late here in this city.”

“So I didn’t get worried until last week,” she added. “Now I’m very worried.”

The four who still require accommodations include one male and three female students approximately 16 years of age.

GPI provides host families with an honorarium of $25 per night stay for a total of $700, to be paid out at the end of the four-week program.

As part of their duties, each host family must provide a personal bedroom and three meals per day for the student and speak English in the home while the student is with them.

On weekdays, the students will attend classes at Rivier Academy, improving their English and learning interactive skills as well as experiencing the nuances of the Canadian educational system.

“Evenings and weekends are open to spend with their host families, and then I will always be a direct contact for the student and for the family during the stay,” Eddolls said.

A lot of them make lifelong friends out of this. Jeannette Eddolls

A prerequisite for any potential host family is that there must be two or more related people living in the home, which provides the students with more opportunity to interact inside the home.

Besides the benefits to the exchange students themselves, Eddolls pointed to numerous gains for the host families who provide them with a place to stay.

“A lot of them make lifelong friends out of this,” she said. “Students come back and visit them. I would say probably 20 per cent of the students that I’ve had here in Prince Albert have come back for visits over the last 10 years.”

Other students later return to attend school in Canada on a long-term basis.

Meanwhile, the host families enjoy the chance to learn about a new culture.

“Sometimes the younger kids in the family learn a little bit of Japanese,” Eddolls said. “It’s just opening up our doors, broadening our world -- but right inside of our home.

“We don’t have to travel anywhere … and most often, it works out well.”

Anyone interested in becoming a host family should contact Eddolls at jeannette@gpicanada.com or by phone at 306-763-4127.

Organizations: Global Partners Institute, Rivier Academy

Geographic location: Japan, Canada

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