MANATEE -- Are you an empty-nester?
Or a family with a spare bedroom?
Education First Educational Homestay Programs is looking for folks who might be interested in hosting an exchange student from France or Spain this summer.
At least 25 homes are needed for students, ages 13-18, who will be here July 5-30.
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Students come to improve their English skills and learn about life in an American family, according to Sherree Bowman, area program leader for Education First, a nonprofit in 55 nations that teaches foreign students English.
It's also an immersion program with no classroom time, according to Bowman. Students learn by talking to their family. Hence, they need a family interested in spending time with them.
Host families and students are matched based on the hobbies, personalities and mutual interests. Families also get to pick the age and gender of the student they host.
Host families provide the student a bed, three meals daily and driving them to a departure location for a weekly field trip.
Some past trips were to Tampa's International Mall in Tampa, Largo's AirHeads Trampoline Arena, Mixon Fruit Farms, South Florida Museum, and Siesta Key.
Students have their own spending money and are insured medically.
Though not reimbursed, if host families have a child who is a high school student they can earn 60 community service hours toward Bright Futures Scholarships and discounts on travel for their own family.
Families interested in hosting a foreign student, should email Sherree Bowman at HSTAKID@aol.com, visit www.efhomestay.org, or call 800-521-0083.
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter:cface fontname="Roman" naxe="0" iaxis="0"/>.