PRLog - April 28, 2012 - POULSBO, Wash. -- Secondary students from three continents are hoping to come to West Sound Academy (WSA) for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year. The eight students from China, Germany, Ghana, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey are participating in cultural exchange programs organized by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs with the U.S. Department of State. These programs give qualified applicants the opportunity to attend a U.S. high school and live with an American host family. The seven girls and one boy who are looking forward to enrolling in classes at the college preparatory school in Poulsbo have already cleared a number of paperwork hurdles - from the Department of State and their home countries - but for their dreams of American schooling to come true they need families willing to host them during the school year.
Bojana from Serbia chasing her host family sister on a trip to the beach
West Sound Academy is looking forward to welcoming these students to the school this fall, in keeping with its continuing commitment to international education and diversity in its student body. Since 2005 West Sound Academy has enrolled students from sixteen different countries and currently has about 15% of its total enrollment coming from outside of the United States. WSA students typically come from north and central Kitsap County and Bainbridge Island, but the small class sizes and significant numbers of international students mean everyone can make friends with teens from all over the world.
Barrie Hillman, West Sound Academy's Head of School, can speak personally about the exceptional rewards to herself and her entire family that have come from hosting an international student. This year the Hillman family (Barrie and her husband Mark, and children Julie and Tyler) has hosted Luyao, an 11th-grade girl from China. Speaking from her perspective as a parent, rather than as a school administrator, Hillman notes, “Hosting an international student for a year is similar to having your first baby. There is never a perfect time to do it; you just have to jump in with both feet and go for it. After the first week, you can’t imagine not having had the experience of meeting such motivated and interesting students as well as learning about his or her culture and welcoming him or her in to your family. It is particularly beneficial to children younger than your host student as they become very close and look forward to travelling to meet the rest of their “family” in a far off country.”
These students are admitted to West Sound Academy and need host families:
• An 11th-grade girl from Beijing, China. She has been studying Latin Dance since she was very young. She wants to be a writer and loves literature. She also likes to run regularly for exercise. She hopes to attend college in the U.S.
• An 11th-grade girl from Bad Oldesloe, Germany. This student loves to study English and Music and has taken French for four years. She plays guitar and piano and loves to sail. She is fascinated with other cultures and travel. She has a close-knit family with two older brothers, a dog and cat.
• A 9th-grade girl from Frankfurt, Germany. She loves design, crafting and painting, and volunteers with a teen group. She plans to go to Arbitur, which is the most difficult course of study in Germany.
• An 11th-grade girl from Nuremberg, Germany. She has the goal of learning the English language perfectly and is described as cheerful, friendly and polite. She is interested in horseback riding and photography and loves dogs.
• An 11th-grade boy from Wa, Ghana. This student from Africa loves to play soccer and volleyball. He participates in debate club and is an avid reader. His mother is a teacher and his family, which includes an older brother and younger sister, runs a farm. His father is deceased.
• A 10th-grade girl from Seoul, South Korea. She loves horseback riding and playing the piano. She describes herself as outgoing and wants to go into forensic science when she is older.
• A 10th-grade girl from Madrid, Spain. She has two older brothers and is described as optimistic and a problem-solver. She plays basketball competitively and is interested in music and cooking.
• A 9th-grade girl from Izmir, Turkey. She says that her biggest dream is to travel all over the world and become a diplomat when she is older. She lives with her father and sister (mother is deceased) and her dad describes her as talkative and social. She likes volleyball, badminton, cooking and painting.
The school has two options available for local families who are interested in hosting one of these international students. Families can choose to host a student for a full school year, from late August to early June. Another possibility is to host for a half-year, with two families co-hosting one student - one family from late August to January and the second from January to early June. Families do not need to have a student at WSA to host an international student. West Sound Academy is making this opportunity available to the broader Kitsap and Bainbridge communities, and will help host families arrange carpool transportation to and from school and activities with WSA families. More information on becoming a host family can be found on the school's website at: http://www.westsoundacademy.org/
Anyone who would like to become a host parent should contact Barrie Hillman to express his or her interest. Call 360-598-5954 or email Hillman at email@example.com.
School officials will help with the process, which involves completing a host family application and agreeing to a background check for the adults living in the home. A site visit by a local coordinator (the student's liaison with his or her placement organization)