The Ice USA Student Exchange program is looking for families in the Methacton area that would be interested in hosting a student in the coming school year. While sounding attractive, the program’s concept does likely spur several questions for those considering hosting such a student.
Aileen Lainez-Best, area representative for the program, said that she often gets several “frequently asked questions” when a family is considering the option.
Topping the list, she said, is often “How much does it cost to host an exchange student?” as families weight their options.
“Exchange students come with their own spending for personal items such as school lunches, athletic fees, clothes, make-up, and activities,” said Best. “We do not want hosting an exchange student to be a financial burden on our volunteer host families. While host families provide room and board, students are expected to pay for all of their own personal expenses.”
Best said that others worry they may not have the room, but sharing is allowed.
“Exchange students can share a bedroom with another teenager who is the same gender,” explained Best.
When it comes to behavior, the host family gets to make the rules. Best said all students are instructed to “follow all host family rules, including computer use,
curfew, and chores.”
Students may not drink, smoke or use drugs while on the Ice USA program. They must also maintain a 'C' or better grade average in every attended course, and must go to school full-time.
Additional luxuries are at the discretion of the host families as well, said Best.
“The use of a computer and cell phone is considered privilege and exchange students must follow all of the rules and expectations for using the host families’ computer or wireless connections,” she said.
Students are also required to participate in the activities of their host family, such as social events, church and even chores.
Ice USA is open to any type of family to host its exchange students.
“Just like students differ, host families come in different shapes and sizes,” said Best. “Single parents, large families, couples with young children, and even retirees are host families.”
Best said the families only need to have one thing to “make the cut.”
“The common denominator is a willingness to open their hearts and their home to a young person from a different culture and to enjoy the experience,” she said.
For more information about hosting and to view student profiles, contact Aileen Lainez-Best at (484) 231-8134 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the organization, visit the Ice USA website here.