Can my family participate?
Absolutely. All families can be considered as possible host families. Families come in all shapes and sizes. The primary criteria is enthusiasm and motivation to offer a French high school student the opportunity to experience American family life, strengthen their English skills, and explore Arizona.
Will the student speak English?
All of the students will have had several years of English class in school. There is great variation in their conversation skills, and it is incredibly to fun to watch their English skills blossom in the few weeks they stay with your family.
How are the French students selected?
French students are carefully screened for their motivation, open mindedness, compatibility, and adaptability. Many of the students may have traveled with ATL before on a shorter stay in Europe and their behavior within a host family has already been documented. Their applications will include information about their families, their schooling, their personal preferences, likes and dislikes, and a personal statement regarding their motivation for participating. As a group, the students come from families with high goals for their children, and they seek the opportunity to improve their English skills and broaden their international skills.
What will I be responsible for?
Host families are asked to try to create as many opportunities as possible for their guest exchange student to practice English skills and experience typical American life. Students are fully insured against a variety of risks through an international insurance firm and will bring their own spending money.
Is there a program or required activities while they are here?
The students program or agenda is entirely at the discretion of the host family. For those students who travel as part of the summer group, there will be an overnight trip to the Grand Canyon and possibly one or two optional recreational activities -- but part of the fun in the experience is also in allowing each family to build an experience that reflects how they would like to spend the time with their student.
What kinds of things could I expect?
This is difficult to answer -- the students often have a wide range of past experiences. Some may feel immediately comfortable immersing in a new family and English conversation, while others may present as more reserved and quiet, especially for the first few days, while they acclimate to your family. Some may have traveled extensively in the past and for others everything about a state like Arizona will be new. Some will be making their first trip to the United States so foods such as peanut butter and corn-on-the-cob may be foreign, and foods like bagels, Oreos, and Starbucks are hard-to-find special treats. All are teenagers -- which means they tend to love all foods, TV, computers, shopping, recreational and athletic activities, movies, and time spent socializing.
How can my family benefit?
Families benefit from the chance to experience their own lives through a student of another culture, for the chance to build an international friendship, and expose themselves and their children to another's perspective.