The very finest form of travel, bar none, is a several-month stay in a foreign home, enjoyed in the teenage years of one’s life. I weep for those students who miss out on these life-enhancing, maturing experiences simply because their schools haven’t publicized the offerings (which happens more than you’d expect).
The solution: aquire the information yourself and then deal directly with the sponsoring organization.
A weighty publication from the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel describes the student programs offered by 75 reputable U.S. organizations and provides the facts for selecting the group from which to request further information. Listed are not simply the giant organizations, but also the smaller ones as well, like Pacific Intercultural Exchange (from $6,200 all inclusive, for the full academic year in Europe or Central/South America with volunteer host families, while attending public schools) and OCEAN (Organization for Cultural Exchange Among Nations), a Tempe, Arizona-based operation that arranges summer programs in Spain and France, and year or semester-long exchanges in Belgium, France, Spain, Japan, Australia, England and Germany. There is also plenty of information about becoming a host family to students visiting the U.S.
Request the Advisory List of International Educational Travel and Exchange Programs from CSIET, 212 S. Henry Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (phone 703/739-9050, fax 703/739-9035), and enclose $17.50 (VA residents add 4.5 percent sales tax) for the cost of the booklet, postage, and handling. You can also see most of this information at the Web site:www.csiet.org, and you can e-mail the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org.