Exchange students looking for host families in the Gem State

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Posted at 5:07 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 21:50:43-04

IDAHO — A local nonprofit is giving students from all over the globe an opportunity of a lifetime.

"I would just say anybody who has the opportunity should do it," Aaliyah Schwarz, an exchange student from Germany said. "It’s such a huge thing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything."

For the past 10 months, Schwarz has been here in Idaho attending school, doing track and most recently she went to prom.

“It was amazing," she said. "We don’t have prom in Germany, so it was a completely new experience for me with getting a dress and getting ready all day.”

The biggest thing she's learned so far might surprise you.

"That not everybody is crazy in America that is a huge thing especially in Europe they all just say Americans are crazy," Schwarz said. "And then you come over here and they are so nice to you. On my first day of school, I had no idea where to go and there were like students coming up to me helping me."

She had dreamed of coming to America for a while, and it was made possible by Education Travel and Culture.

A nonprofit that places high school students from all over the globe with host families in the Gem State.

They also have programs in other states as well, placing students all across the U.S.

"They are very eager to come to the United States and come see and see how it works here," Lori Reid, ETC Idaho Program Coordinator said. "And to participate in all their activities with an American high school and with the family."

As we get closer to a new school year, ETC has over 175 students, just like Aaliyah, looking for host families.

"We have them from all over," Reid. said. "There is France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Chile, and Portugal. I am excited to find host homes for these students.”

They match the students with families with similar interests.

“We look for families that have kids or don’t have kids in the home," Reid said. "They just have to provide three meals a day and then they provide a place to sleep, or transportation if the student needs it."

It was a huge life change in my life and I would recommend it to everybody. You learn so much in one year and I learned so much about Germany just because I was telling everyone about my own country," Schwarz said.

With two months left in Idaho, Aaliyah will compete at the District track meet and plans to spend more time with her host family.

"They are doing things with me and showing me how their life is, and how it is to be in America," Schwarz said. "They show me a different culture and they also want to learn about my culture and I think that is really nice."

"I loved them from the first day on and it is going to be really hard to leave them," she added.

To sign up to be a host family or for more information, click here.