Northwest College is seeking families in Park County to provide housing accommodations, meals and cultural relationships for Russian students for one month beginning Sunday, July 28.
The Year of Exchange in America for Russians (YEAR) Program awards full scholarships to outstanding Russian students to spend one academic year at institutions of higher education in the U.S. With offices in Washington, D.C., the YEAR Program is funded by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and is administered by the American Councils for International Education.
A main element of the program includes a monthlong homestay in which host families help YEAR students acclimate to new communities through involvement in family and local activities.
“Through their daily interactions with their host families, students will gain better insight into the many American cultural traditions allowing them to see what locals like to do, where they like to go and how they live on a daily basis,” explained Amanda Enriquez, NWC Intercultural Program manager. “Most importantly, this experience will provide these students with a second family who will enrich their experience in the U.S. exponentially.”
Aside from providing daily meals and a clean, safe place to live, host families are asked to provide guidance and support for their students as they learn about life in the U.S.
After completion of the one month homestay, students will then move into the residence halls on the NWC campus to begin the academic year. Students are encouraged to maintain close contact with their host families during the program through activities such as family dinners, outings or holiday celebrations.
“When families open their homes to students from another country, it really allows them to learn about another person’s culture and interests,” Enriquez said. “Host families play a key role in helping these students achieve their dreams while studying abroad, and a lot of times, these relationships will last a lifetime.”
YEAR students undergo a rigorous selection process through a series of essays, interviews and language tests. Academic abilities, leadership skills as well as a commitment to the cultural exchange program are also major factors in the selection process.
The application deadline for host families is Saturday, June 1.