Families in the area have the opportunity to experience a new culture through hosting an exchange student with International Student Exchange.

ISE helps place students with host families for one to two semesters or for a full 12 month period at a time.

Local area representative Karen Koches checks in with students every month during the families hosting period to see how they are doing. Families are responsible for three meals per day with the exception of school lunches for the students they host.

ISE continues to keep their students their top priority and the safety is their number one concern when they are placed with families, according to Koches.

In a news release Gary Lubrat, national director said, “as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create new challenges of all kinds across the globe, we wanted to assure the safety and well-being of our students, schools, host families and communities continue to be our top priority.”

“For the upcoming fall season, ISE will take specific measures to protect our participants and the communities that host them,” Lubrat said.

Certain precautionary measures for the 2020-21 year have been set into motion.

“Prior to a student’s arrival in the United States, ISE will require that they receive medical clearance indicating they are healthy and free from COVID-19 symptoms,” Lubrat said. “In addition to all other required health-related documentation, schools will receive a medical note attesting to this. Ensuring that our August-arriving students are not infected with the virus is our primary concern. We will not permit any student to come into the program without this medical note.”

Everybody needs some kind of human interaction in life, according to Lubrat, who also thinks everyone needs to have some kind of cultural experience.

“The need for human interaction is more apparent than ever before, and ISE will continue to bring the people of the world closer together to promote peaceful and cooperative international relations,” Lubrat said.

According to the ISE website, when people sign up to become a host family and host an exchange student, they can expect to have their family enriched as well as their local high school and community. Families can increase the mutual understanding between people of different cultures, encourage peaceful relationships around the world and experience a new culture firsthand.

All students in the program are high school age between 15-18 from over 40 countries around the world. Students have medical insurance, a strong academic record, speak English and bring their own spending money.

According to ISE, their host families come from all over and have different backgrounds. They live on farms, in bustling cities and everywhere in between. Families consist of those whom are married, single, empty nesters, with or without kids.

Applications are currently being accepted for volunteer families.

For more information about how to become a host family or questions about the application process, contact local representative Koches at (724) 422-5462 or visit the website at www.iseusa.org.