Hosting exchange students is an enriching experience

This fall, our family will host Marilys, an exchange student from France, as our youngest daughter will be a sophomore at Southwest High School. We are so excited as a few years back, we hosted Lola, a girl from Spain, and she and my daughter both attended Washburn High School as sophomores 2019-2020. Living in Minneapolis during George Floyd’s murder and the start of the pandemic really opened Lola’s eyes to global events - as she was right in the middle of them. Young women now, they are still really close friends. It was an enriching experience not just for her but for our entire family.
Southwest High School has been so welcoming of our upcoming exchange student (letting her join the cheer team!) and they would love to have more exchange students this fall. Southwest High, Washburn High School and Field Community School PTA and other MSP families should know there are still kids who’d love to come to Minneapolis and attend high school this fall.
Exchange students, like Lola and Marilys, arrive on a J-1 visa for public schools via non-profit agencies.
In an increasingly connected world, the opportunity to host an international exchange student offers families a chance to experience a new culture without leaving their home. International Cultural Exchange Services (ICES) is currently seeking host families for the upcoming 2024/2025 school year, and the benefits of such an experience extend far beyond the academic calendar.
What does hosting involve?
Hosting an exchange student is a commitment to providing a welcoming and supportive home environment. Families are expected to offer a room, meals, and love and guidance. More importantly, they are asked to include the student in family activities, making them feel like a true part of the family.
ICES assures prospective host families that all family dynamics are welcome. Whether you have young children, teenagers, or no children at all, you can become a host family. The primary requirement is a willingness to open your heart and home to a young person eager to learn and grow.
The upcoming school year brings a diverse group of students from around the world, including Japan, Poland, Germany, Spain, Slovakia, South Korea, Finland, Italy and more.
The impact of hosting
The impact of hosting an exchange student is profound. For the student, it means experiencing life in a new country, improving their language skills, and developing a deeper understanding of a different culture. For the host family, it offers a chance to learn about another part of the world, develop lifelong friendships, and create lasting memories.
Families who have previously hosted students often speak of the experience with great enthusiasm. They highlight the joy of sharing their traditions, the excitement of learning about another culture, and the special bond that forms between them and the student.
How to get involved
If you are interested in becoming a host family, ICES provides all the support and information you need. You can visit their website at to learn more about the hosting process and the students available for placement. The website also features testimonials from past host families, offering insights into the many rewards of this unique opportunity.
Hosting an exchange student is more than just an act of kindness; it is an investment in a more connected and understanding world. By opening your home, you help to foster global friendships and provide a young person with the opportunity of a lifetime.
For more information and to apply to become a host family, please visit Join ICES in making the world a smaller, friendlier place, one student at a time.
Contact information:
International Cultural Exchange Services
Phone: 651-307-5703
Make a difference in a student’s life and enrich your own by becoming a host family today!
Michelle Krueger, Diamond Lake
Coordinator, International Cultural Exchange Services (ICES) 


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