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Exchange program needs local families

By Staff
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
A foreign exchange student program is searching for host families in the Franklin County area for the upcoming school year.
Student Travel Schools, a non-profit corporation dedicated to intercultural student exchange, has students from 45 different countries looking for host families.
"We anticipate to place five students with families in the north Alabama area," program coordinator Brian Margrave said.
The organization has several requests for the southeast region of the United States including Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana.
"The students specify the region where they want to study," Margrave said. "We try to accommodate what they want so that they can have a good educational experience,"
Host families provide room and board as well as a loving, nurturing environment for the students. The students have their own spending money and health insurance coverage. The students are required to be able to speak English at least 60 percent of the time, Margrave said.
"What these kids really want is to become apart of the family and to be treated just like another child in the family, not a house guest," Margrave said. "Anyone can host an exchange student," Margrave said. "You can be retired, single parents and newly weds without children."
Margrave said the experience is not just for the student, it's for everyone including the host family.
"Everyone learns something from each other," he said.
Anyone wishing to host an exchange student can do so by calling STS at 800-522-4678 for more information.