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Study abroad program in need of host families

Study abroad program in need of host families

Bridging nations through student exchange programs; that's what one Lowcountry organization is working to do.

CIEE said there is a growing interest in American culture, and they need your help hosting foreign exchange students.

They travel to a foreign land for a chance to see the world.

"I've always been curious about the United States because it's always what we see in the T.V. all the time," said Carola Levi. "The music that I hear, the books that I read, so, I just needed to experience it."

From Italy to Summerville--18 year old Carola Levi has welcomed the experiences of the past nine months.

"It's different to be a teenager in the United States. Everything is bigger, cars a bigger, streets are bigger."

She's here through the exchange program CIEE, America's oldest study abroad organization.

“I ended up in a big family, with people always coming and going." Carola added. She joined a family of five and had to quickly get adjusted to American culture.

Carola believes it’s an educational experience for all, “It’s a big experience for the student, and also for the family.”

It's an opportunity Kima Garten says more Lowcountry families should be open to, "We're in need of all different types of families." There’s no requirement on family structure either. You can be an empty nester or a single person; all are welcomed to apply for the unique cultural experience.

"It's a great connection and learning about each other's cultures." said Kima.

Exchange programs vary in length, but Annika, an 11th grader from Germany, says the experience is one she'll never forget. "My host family is amazing, my school is amazing, my friends are amazing, everything is just so cool and I like it."

If you're interested in becoming a host for a foreign exchange student, you have to pass a background check, allow a home visit, and agree to feed the student three meals a day. For more information, visit their website, www.ciee.org.

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