Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange

International Student Exchange Program Seeks SOMA Host Families — Meeting Feb 25 at Coda

Education First (“EF”), the language and cultural exchange program from Boston, MA is looking for host families for foreign students studying English in the United States this summer. Could that be you? Local South Orange/Maplewood parents who have participated in the program are hosting an “EF Host Family Mingle” information meeting on Tuesday, February 25 at Coda Kitchen & Bar, 177 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood, NJ from 6:30-8 p.m.

Since 1995, EF has offered foreign students (usually high school seniors) the opportunity to study English in the US while staying with local host families.  The New Jersey program sponsored over 45 students last year, from Spain, Russia & France.

One host mom of Maplewood, Trent Oliver, recalls, “The experience was a complete surprise. We signed up for 3 weeks and were matched with a 17-year old Russian girl named Agata. She was a delight. We saw her mostly at breakfast time and she’d show off the English she’d learned. Our daughter invited her and her Russian friends out several times. At the end, we found our entire family hugging Agata and her friends goodbye‚ while holding back sobs!”

“The international exchange energized our lives for a couple weeks. The kids were so grateful. Maybe easier than our own!” said host dad Brian Kelly.

EF students take accredited English language classes at Kean University in the morning during the week. Host families drop their students at waiting school busses in the morning — mostly train stations in Maplewood, Montclair or Westfield. Temporary “patch families” fill in when a host family can commit to only some of the three weeks.

Afternoons and weekends are organized with supervised cultural events: trips to the Jersey shore, Great Adventure, or perhaps a Yankees game.  The trips to Manhattan — no surprise — are always a highlight. “You’ve made my American dream come true!” proclaimed Sophie, a French girl from Normandie.

Interested in learning more about becoming a host or patch family? Contact, Jeaninne Pfeiffer at 908-481-6077 or stop by the EF Host Family Mingle, CODA Kitchen & Bar, 177 Maplewood Ave. Maplewood, NJ Tuesday February 25, 6:30pm- 8pm.

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