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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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World Exchange offers international friendships

?I couldn?t sleep for 30 hours on my day flight over the Atlantic ocean,? Christof Schnur, German exchange student [?06], said. ?I was excited but nervous at the same time, not knowing exactly what to expect. However, I was glad to be finally on my way to the long awaited adventure ahead of me.?

Families in the Central Valley have a chance to become a part of a global outreach. Cap Monde, meaning World Exchange, offers opportunities for families to discover international friendships.

French exchange students will arrive in towns across the country, including Fresno, and will be placed in various homes for a three-week stay on July 8 through the 27.

World Exchange sends out brochures every year during the middle of April, encouraging families to take part in the international outreach to host an exchange student.

While Schnur independently coordinated his one-year stay, most exchange students need an organized program to help find a compatible family.

In order to be a part of the program, an interested family must be interviewed by one of the trained program directors. Later, the directors will look through the applications from the students to match interests and similarities with the potential host family.

?It is a rewarding and unique experience that each family should consider,? Ben Flores, program director, said. ?Families will learn the interchange of culture and grow in lasting relationships.?

The host family must take the exchange student?s anxiety and tiredness or jet lag into consideration for the first day. Daily living throughout the three weeks should not change too much, allowing the students to be involved in the normal events that would take place during the day with the family.

?It was enjoying to show our culture to Christof,? Debra Elmore, junior mom, said. ?We took him to several tourist places that I myself have never been to.?

Families are encouraged to plan a couple special days or embark on a road trip, allowing the student to see other places in the state.

The students? ages range from 14 to 18 years of age. The students? varying plans for the future give the host families opportunities to help the students develop opinions and goals and shape their attitude toward our culture.

Although the overall experience will be exciting, there are adjustments that need to be made to accommodate the conditions of living with the exchange student.

The Elmore family shared this experience, providing a home for, and embracing, Schnur.

?At first it was difficult to adjust to the living arrangements, living with two brothers instead of one,? Erin Elmore, ?06, said. ?I learned a lot of patience and sharing.?

A family may learn a lot from the exchange student, not only about their family and culture but about their government and politics as well.

?Christof taught our family a lot about German and European politics,? Debra Elmore, mother of Alex [?05] and Erin, said. ?He shared with us a wealth of knowledge that we could not find anywhere else.?

Beliefs and views on spiritual and worldly issues are also shared through quality time spent together with the exchange student. The fact that Schnur shares the same religion and values as the Elmore family made it easier for him to fit in.

?The overall experience was just wonderful and enriching,? Debra Elmore said. ?I would encourage every family to consider this opportunity; I am glad our family did.?

For more information call Ben or Carolynn Flores at (559) 298-2901, (559) 930-3609 or visit their website online.

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