International Fellowship, a local student foreign exchange program, is extending the opportunity to American families to host a high school exchange student from another country. International Fellowship is one of the oldest student exchange programs in the nation, headquartered in Westfield in western New York. International Fellowship began in Buffalo, NY in 1952, and moved to Westfield, NY in 1998. For 60 years, this family run business has successfully helped to bring individuals together. The founder of the program, Mrs. Mildred Brown was a dynamic individual who traveled the world in order to attain her dream of creating a student foreign exchange program. Today, her son-in-law, Norman Zent, along with his wife and daughters continue to operate the program.
Part of the mission of International Fellowship is to promote world peace and understanding. "Through knowledge and friendship come understanding and goodwill." We are able to do this one student at a time. American families have the opportunity to present our own country to these young people, sharing with them our culture and the American heritage. At the same time, we, as Americans, learn about another culture. The rewards and benefits resulting from these cultural interchanges last a life time. The barriers, prejudices and misconceptions that keep people of different cultures apart, diminish.
Hosting an exchange student can develop strong bonds with people of another country, sharing our cultures, languages, lifestyles and values. It is easy to see the obvious differences in people. The beauty of these relationships teaches us the similarities of people all over the world. It is those similarities that create friendship. We all know that people with common interests connect. Once these connections are made, we begin to see that we are all a part of humanity with many of the same problems, hopes and desires. We are in a unique position to be able to reach out to others in a way that no other connection can.
The responsibility of the host family is to provide three meals a day for the student (meaning an extra plate at the table), a bed, laundry facilities, a place to study and parental guidance. The benefits are limitless. Hosts range from single, married, no children, many children, young parents to grandparents. Since International Fellowship has an open telephone line 24/7, we are available to our students and families any time.
If you would like to be a part of this world connection, please call International Fellowship, Inc. locally at 326-7277 or 1-800-647-8839, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website at www.internationalfellowship.org.
References are available upon request.