Foreign exchange host families needed in Treasure Valley

Credit: Adam Worthington/ KTVB

Foreign exchange host families needed in Treasure Valley

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by Stephanie Zepelin

Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie

KTVB.COM

Posted on July 13, 2013 at 10:24 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 15 at 9:12 AM

MERIDIAN -- About 50 students from across the world will be heading to the Treasure Valley later this summer.

That means there is an opportunity for you to host a foreign exchange student, and immerse them in all the wonderful things we like about Idaho.

Last year, Giada Bovo came to Idaho from Italy.

"When they first told me, 'Giada, you're going to Idaho,' I was like, 'where is that?' But then I looked it up and I was very happy," said Bovo.

Bovo lived in the Treasure Valley for six months with host mom Ann Roe, and says she enjoyed her time here.

"I just expected what I saw on the internet, like beautiful landscapes," she said.

Ann Roe works for the EF Foundation and coordinates exchange students. She has hosted five students

"We've learned a lot from all the different students we've hosted," said Roe."But they learn quite a bit too."

Roe said the EF Foundation is currently looking for a few more host families in the area.

"You can be single, same-sex couples, you can be an older couple with no children, you can be a family with younger children," Roe said.
   
Roe also said many of the host families either have grown children or children age 12 and under. The exchange students have an allowance, so they pay for whatever they need and the activities they want to do.

Mike and Tauscha Johanson have been host parents here in Idaho three times. Their fourth exchange students comes this year from the Netherlands. The parents of four said it was a learning experience for their whole family.
   
"Here in Idaho, we're way more vanilla than in a lot of the rest of the country," said Tauscha Johanson. "And so this is a way that we can expose our kids to other cultures of the world, and they can learn to be open, and accepting, and tolerant and honor other people's culture and traditions."

Mike Johanson said their family has created strong bonds with the students.

"It is kind of a risk to let somebody into your home, but once you've done it once and they kind of become part of your family," he said.
   
Mike and Tauscha Johanson said exchange student number four probably will not be the last student they host.
   
"It's likely there will be a five and probably a six," laughed Tauscha Johanson.

Bovo said she enjoyed skiing at Bogus Basin while she was here, and fer host family also took her on a couple short weekend trips.

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