This upcoming school year, Milford families will be hosting two students from Spain as part of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) program. From the small city of Alicante, Spain, Lucia Sanz Linares and Arturo Mora Ojeda will have the opportunity to experience American life in Milford, DE. They have begun their stay with their respective host families and will start school on August 25.
CIEE is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that aims to help build relationship between countries throughout the world through the sharing of cultural experiences. The organization began more than 65 years ago in the aftermath of World War II in an effort to promote peaceful coexistence and respect between nations through student and teach exchange programs.
The local exchange program in Delaware supports students in many different countries from around the world including Spain, Brazil, Egypt, Thailand, Italy, Lithuania, Venezuela, Ecuador, South Korea and Germany. Students with the CIEE program live with an American host family for as little as five weeks to as long as 10 months.
“The students help to build bridges of understanding through ideas and experiences. They join the program to learn more about the American culture but also to share their own culture,” stated Pamela Hoffman, Regional Director at CIEE. “They make the investment to expand their opportunities for their own future.”
Both CIEE students will be attending the Milford High School this upcoming academic year and will return to Spain in June of 2015. While in school, they will be required to take English, History and Math and will be able to join any extracurricular activities they are interested in.
Several other students in the CIEE program are prepared to be placed with local families and the organizations asks that individuals take this opportunity to learn more about the exchange program. CIEE accepts all kinds of families from adults with no children to families with multiple children. According to Hoffman, the only requirement needed is a “caring environment with an extra place at the dinner table.”
“We want students to have a good impression of America and talk with confidence and kindness about the United States when they return to their own country,” said Hoffman. “We want them to be able to have a deeper learning experience with their host family.”
Donna Evans, local organizer for CIEE and host family for Lucia, states that the program can be very rewarding for both student and host family as the majority of experiences create a deep bond and a lifelong friendship.
“Many times [students] become part of the family even after the program is over,” commented Evans. “As you are introducing another culture into your family the student begins to blend in with the host family and becomes a part of the family.”
The Council on International Educational Exchange offers several options for host families for short stays of 4 to 6 weeks to longer stays of up to 10 months. Local families that are interested in hosting a foreign student this upcoming year should contact Donna Evans at 302-233-2017 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To view more information on the programs and to register as a new host family, individuals are encouraged to visit CIEE online at www.ciee.org.