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Foreign exchange students looking for host families

Lauren Scherr’s plate at International Cultural Exchange Services is looking full at the moment. She is the regional administrator for the entire Upper Peninsula, responsible for placing foreign exchange students with host families for the upcoming school year. Over 700 international students are on a waiting list, trying to make academic memories in the region.

They come from across the world and they have to submit to background checks and an application process to help match them with the right environment. They do not know where they’ll wind up, which makes the role of the host family so vital to the overall experience. Most study abroad enrollees arrive just before the start of the fall semester.

The bulk of our students come in mid- to late-August and they come starting in the fall and are here until the end of the school year.

Some students stay for only one semester, either in the fall or beginning with the calendar year in January.

Scherr says her organization provides training.

We do give families a little training on what to expect and I love networking families together, so they have someone else going through the same experience, and not just me, but a whole team of people supporting them and giving ideas, and bouncing them off of each other.

International Cultural Exchange Services also helps forge connections with the students, helping to keep them from feeling isolated.

Scherr says that the earlier a host family signs up, the more options they will have to select the perfect student for their situation. She says that she gets every different kind of family, some couples as early as their mid-20’s without kids yet of their own all the way to empty nesters who watched their own children graduate and start a career already. Scherr says the diversity is perfect because there is a wide variety of kids and they need a wide variety of families.

Scherr and three foreign exchange students were guests on Copper Country Today this weekend.

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