BSM families host exchange students


Photo Courtesy of Ruochen Zhang

Families at BSM have opened their homes to foreign exchange students. This can be a rewarding experience for all involved.

Erin Lerch, Staff Writer

BSM has 16 International students from three different countries with 16 different host families. While these 16 students attend school at BSM only two host families are members of the BSM community.

Coming to the United States as a high school student would be terrifying, which is why a comforting and kind host family could make all the difference. “In a host family, good characteristics are someone who is patient and will help me understand the English language better,” senior Chenyang Yan said.

Through several different programs, students are matched with host families after filling out an extensive survey about what they look for in a family. Questions vary from allergies to simple questions like if they are fond of pets. “My main requirements were having a quiet household with a separate bedroom and bathroom for myself,” junior Tiffany Hou said.

Ted Freese, the Director of Admissions and the person responsible for placing the International Students at BSM, believes that every family should have the opportunity to host a student from a different country. “Everyone who has hosted an International Student would do the experience over again if they could. It’s a way to learn about different cultures and gain perspective,” Freese said.

The reason BSM has only two families from the BSM community is because it is a big commitment and people believe the language barrier will be a struggle. “Yes, it is a big commitment. You are taking care of someone else’s loved one for an extended period of time, but it is worth it. The students most of the time speak English very well, and the lessons you learn from a person from a different country are priceless,” Freese said.

Host families are constantly needed to house these students, especially from BSM. “Having a caring family is very nice. Sometimes carpooling can be a challenge because no one in my host family goes to [BSM],” Yan said.

Despite some challenges, both the student and the family are able to learn important lessons from each other. “My host family has taught me how to be confident and independent. Because of them I have joined different clubs,” Hou said.

Lessons like these can only be learned from experiencing different cultures and interacting with new people. “My host family has taught me to open my heart to the world,” Yan said.

BSM needs new host families every year and as our International Student program becomes bigger, the demand for host families is higher.