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12 June 2014

The interest of the Czech families to host foreign exchange students is growing

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This August 73 students from 27 countries will come to the Czech Republic through hosting program of the AFS Mezikulturní programy, o.p.s. ”That supports the fact that the Czechs are hospitable people who are willing to open their home for a foreigner for one school year or semester,” comments Monika Janovská from AFS on the growth. The reality is that the number of the teenagers visiting the Czech Republic depends on the amount of families who are willing to host each year.
The Czech office of the AFS organization has been administering the trimester, semester or year long stays for the high-school students for 24 years now. Through this program young people from abroad learn our traditions and language and attend the Czech schools.
The family that decides to host takes care of the student for the whole program. Student pays for the flight ticket and other necessities, while home-stay and meals are provided by the Czech family free of charge. The members of the family gradually learn how to communicate and live together with a foreign student. Close relationships of a lifetime emerge.
The aim of the program is to learn about other cultures. “My children discovered that the world is more diverse than they knew. On one side we realized that we have less privacy and have to share more of our time with Yok. On the other side, this time makes up for greater things. We have another member in our family now,” says Helena Kačenová from Chrastava, hosting a 17 year-old girl from Thailand.
This year the AFS organization worldwide will celebrate its centennial anniversary, which marks the long tradition of spreading the understanding between cultures. The organization is in continuous search for the families that would like to gain an unusual experience – hosting a person from a different background, whom they can offer a new home for several months.
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