Local Woman is Exchange Coordinator

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Michella Davenport has hosted five foreign exchange students in her home. This year, she is hosting her sixth student, Johannes Pedal from Norway.

Now, as the new local international exchange coordinator (IEC) with the EF High School Exchange Year program, she will help pair families interested in hosting with a student. Mrs. Davenport will take over the position, which was last held by Barb Reisner.

As the new coordinator, Mrs. Davenport will help place students with families. She will screen potential families, and once a student is placed she will check in to make sure things go well.

Michella Davenport is working to place exchange students, like Johannes Padel, with local families. Johanness is the sixth exchnage student she has had live with her family for a year. She said she is excited about the opportunity to help other families become hosts.

Michella Davenport is working to place exchange students, like Johannes Padel, with local families. Johanness is the sixth exchnage student she has had live with her family for a year. She said she is excited about the opportunity to help other families become hosts.

“I am the first line of support for the family and the student,” Mrs. Davenport said.

Mrs. Davenport said the number of foreign exchange students in the area has dropped in recent years. She said it used to not be uncommon for there to be up to eight or nine students at St. Maries High School.

“Now we only have two or three,” she said. “I would love to see more.”

Mrs. Davenport said the students she has had the pleasure of hosting have been “great kids.”

“We live in a little bit of an isolated area and it’s a great way to introduce world culture to your families,” she said. “We had a girl from Ukraine stay with us and today my kids are paying attention to what’s happening over there. It’s not because they are interested in world news; it’s because it’s personal for them now.”

Mrs. Davenport said until she has some families who are interested she won’t start looking for students. She said a lot of work goes into making sure students and families are matched who share similar interests.

“The program I work with is very diligent about getting a good placement and a good fit,” she said.

Johannes said a family who hosts an exchange student should be “open-minded.” Mrs. Davenport agreed.

“The family should learn from the student and the student should learn from the family,” she said.

Mrs. Davenport said there are certain requirements a family is required to meet such as they must provide a bed for the student, three meals a day and one host parent must be at least 25 years old. Those who home school their children may host an exchange student, but the exchange student must attend public school.

Mrs. Davenport said families can host students for an entire school year or for only part of a school year, beginning in January.

“It can be stressful introducing someone new to your family, but the kids are great. And as host family you’re not on your own,” she said.

Anyone who would like more information about hosting an exchange student should contact Mrs. Davenport at 582-1586.

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