CAMILLUS, N.Y. (NCC News)— The International Student Exchange is looking for families to open their home in Onondaga County. Since the start of the pandemic, many people and schools are afraid to let strangers in. However, there is one family who stepped up in a time of need.
A mother of two, Natalia Meyer, took on a third child this school year.
Meyer said on top of running her restaurant, she’s adjusting to being a host parent again.
“This year we weren’t really ready but the International Student Exchange reached out to us multiple times to see if we could do it,” Meyer said.
Meyer and her husband are the host parents for their second international exchange student, Alonzo Garcia.
Garcia is from Madrid, Spain and is currently in the 11th grade.
Garcia said he is enjoying the American experience… and his favorite American food?
“Hamburgers,” Garcia said.
Garcia also said by staying at his host home and going to school, his English is improving.
Meyer said for anyone wanting to become a host parent, it takes patience.
“It usually takes a couple months for the kids to adjust to living with strangers and the language barrier,” Meyer said.
The area representative for ISE Chris Gabel said the best part is watching the students grow.
Gabel said he checks in with the exchange student and host family every month.
“I’m between the students their host family, our agency and the school–I’m the advocate,” Gabel said.
Gabel said there are international students right now in need of a host family.
He said once they find the students a home they can begin reaching out to schools.
ISE wants to find a safe and happy home for all exchange students.
If you are interested in becoming a host parent, you can visit https://iseusa.org/host-a-student/apply-to-host-a-student/ or click here for more information.
You may also contact the area representative for ISE Chris Gabel at (315) 395-5175.