Five adventurous international students are heading to the Youngstown area in a few weeks through a program put on by Educatius International. The students will be attending a full year at Ursuline High School.
“Hosting one of these students makes for a very good experience,” said Tracy Styka of Canfield, who was a host to a teenage girl from Thailand last year. “A lot of them want to attend college here and this program helps give them the cultural experience to prepare them for that endeavor.”
The Educatius International program was founded in 2001 by Tom Ericsson, who was focusing on recruitment of international students to U.S. private boarding schools. Since then the program has expanded and grown and now continues its mission to help teens who are looking at attending college in the U.S. down the road.
Styka said the requirements are simple ones. The host family needs to provide a bed, desk, and dresser for the student. They will have to provide transportation to Ursuline. The preference is also to have a teen in the house, but it's not mandatory.
“Couples without children in the house can take two of the students in,” Styka said.
This year, there are five international students age 15 or 16 coming to the area. Three are from China, one from Brazil and one from Korea. They will be arriving one week prior to the start of the school year on Aug. 22.
Host families will provide the students with daily meals and a loving and caring environment. So as to not make the 10-month long endeavor burdensome, Educatius International provides a $200 per month stipend to help offset additional costs of hosting. The international students are expected to pay all their own expenses outside of the home. They are expected to pay for items like school lunches, restaurants, movies, presents, and prom expenses.
“Having an international student is a great way to learn about the world around you and even share your own culture,” Styka said. ”As a host family, you really make a difference in the life of the student staying with you and create a lifelong friendship.”
Styka said the young girl she hosted in the recent school year still keeps in touch via email. Over the 10 months she was here, the Stykas got to learn a lot about the Thailand culture.
To become a host family, the first step is to fill out an application. To obtain the paperwork, call Styka at 330-770-5714.
Once the application is received, the potential host family will go through a reference check, then can expect a home visit. If all turns out good, the family can expect their visitor in the latter part of August.
Styka also noted that the language barrier doesn’t exist with these kids.
“Most have been studying English for four to five years,” she said. “They are already well versed in English and are hoping to perfect their use of the language through their U.S. experience.”