WISCONSIN (NBC 26) — As a new school year quickly approaches, exchange students from around the world are getting ready to come study in Wisconsin.
However, many of those students are in need of host families in the Badger State.
"It’s such a unique experience. Like where else would you be able to live with a completely different family of yours?" said Kate Popova.
Popova is a 16-year-old exchange student from Ukraine. This will be her second year studying in Wisconsin.
"I honestly love Wisconsin. It's a state that kind of resonates with me a lot. I like the culture and the people. I'm really glad I was placed here,” Popova said.
But without the help from host families like hers, she would have not been able to receive this once-in-a-lifetime American experience.
"We do have one French student whose coming to the Marinette area so far but we are definitely hoping to get more families on board before it gets too late,” said Jennifer King, a Pax area representative.
King said as COVID restrictions have eased, more foreign students have signed up for a year in America. However, a lot of them are still on a waiting list to be placed with a family.
“We still have I think a little over 200 students they need to place,” King said. “We have quite a few more students we've had to place this year than previously so I think there's a normalcy and comfort coming back at least on their ends. So they're ready to come and have all the experiences they possibly can.”
So how can one be a host family?
King said there’s an application process to go through. She said students come with their own spending money and families only have to provide housing and three meals a day.
"And once the students are here they can really dive into school, they can join activities and they can travel with the family,” King said.
King and Popova both agree, saying that hosting a foreign exchange student can be a rewarding and life-changing experience that's mutually beneficial.
"A lot of sharing of cultures, 'we do this, oh we do that. Let’s introduce you to this thing.' It’s been incredibly fun,” Popova said.
To learn how you can be a host family, click here.