Families in East hosting foreign exchange students

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Some families in the East opted out of a summer vacation this year to host foreign exchange students from Spain and France.

“The very first year I was hesitant because I thought what have I got to offer, and the only thing you really need to offer is your home and heart,” said foster parent Bonnie Mincey.

It is the third year Mincey is fostering a foreign exchange student from France.

“Occasionally, we’ll go to do something of a tourist nature, but for the most part we just do everyday kind of stuff,” Mincey said.

First on the list was a tour of East Carolina University, since the students are still high school.

Other host parents take this opportunity to embrace another culture and learn about one another.

“I hope that I brighten the student’s life that they have an experience that they can take back with them,” said Dennise Sleeper, host mother.

But breaking barriers can be tough.

“The beginning of this trip I was a little lost because all the little daily things usual things were completely changed,” said Etienne Ravat, from France.

“I thought I knew English and then you come here and you see that well it’s not like you have studied in school,” said Ane Gonzalez, from Spain.

These immersed families have found some interests that are universal.

“You can make new friends and get to know people and get to live a different culture, so I think that is important.”

Mincey said it is just the first piece to a bigger picture

“I think the first piece of any puzzle is yourself and the first relationship you make with the individual, which extends to the families,” Mincey said.

If you’d like to host a student, it’s not too late. Another group of students will be arriving in July. http://tltlhost.com/

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