Manatee families needed to host Chinese students Jan. 22-Feb. 2

vmannix@bradenton.comDecember 31, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Would you be interested in hosting a Chinese exchange student for 10 days next year?

Education First, an international education company, is looking for host families for 15 Chinese boys, ages 9-15, from Jan. 22 to Feb. 2.

Program leader Sherree Bowman said the youngsters have been studying English in their own schools and will be immersed in area homes where they can practice speaking English.

"They come to America to improve their English and learn about American culture," she said.

Unlike Education First's summer program, where foreign exchange students remain here for up to one month, the Chinese stay will be brief and busy.

"They'll go to classes during the day with the EF teachers and staff, so they'll be free in evenings and weekends," Bowman said. "We'll also be taking them on field trips, too -- Dakin Dairy, Disney World, Tervis Tumbler -- so they'll be on the go.

"Since it is short, this might be a good way for somebody who's considered hosting a student to get their feet wet."

Host families have 24/7 support from Education First staff. Students are fully medically insured and bring their own money for souvenirs.

The only expense host families incur is student meals and transportation to school, St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, 11315 Palmbrush Trail, Lakewood Ranch.

"We've got host families from Ruskin to Venice, so we can try to set up carpooling," Bowman said.

For details, call 941-746-3120 or 941-545-7300 cell. Or email HstAKid@aol.com.

Or visit efhomestay.org.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter:@vinmannix

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