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Letter to the Editor (July 4 edition) 

Local organization looks for international student hosts

A Call For Hosts

How can a person make a difference in the world nowadays? The answers may be more up to you than you think. For the 2013-2014 school year, Education, Travel & Culture (ETC), a highly regarded nonprofit high school exchange student organization, will welcome many high school-age teenagers to the U.S. Its central mission is to promote global peace and understanding, by "Sharing the True America with the World." ETC believes that when Americans embrace the world's youth, we invite a more promising future for all of humanity to share.

I recently accepted a part-time position as a Local Coordinator with ETC. I thought, what a great opportunity for the community to embrace students from around the world - to share our American culture with students from Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and many more. We live in this multi-cultural society and I was so confident that when I spoke with people, everyone would be as excited as I am to host an international high school student.

To my surprise, people are more hesitant than I ever expected them to be. There are some families who were eager to host, completed their applications in record time, selected their student and have even begun to develop a relationship with their soon-to-be new family member via email and Skype. But we still have several students who would love to make their "American Dream" come true by spending the school year in America.

There is no such thing as a "typical host family." A warm, successful student/family bond does not depend on whether there are same ages children present in the home. In fact, it is not uncommon for young families, childless couples, empty nesters and retirees, to embrace the opportunity to share their lives.

Our summer deadline to place the remaining students is fast approaching. Now more than ever, we need strong families to host an exchange student in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and surrounding counties.

Join me in making a difference in the world by opening doors for peace and understanding through youth by calling 980-216-8595 or visiting our website at http://www.edutrav.org.
- Kandace Wright, ETC Local Coordinator

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