Staying with a family is a popular option
Many international students (almost 800,000) choose to study in the U.S. for university and graduate school. The steady increase in international students attending these programs is creating a very competitive admissions environment. Each year, the number of international students attending secondary schools in the U.S. to prepare for university also increases. Universities often identify international students from preparatory programs as “vetted.” The students have shown success in a U.S. curriculum and learning environment, as well as an ability to feel comfortable in a situation far from their homeland.
International students can choose to find a host family as part of their experience in the U.S. Many areas of the U.S. offer exposure to diverse populations that is not possible in other countries. The “melting pot” that makes up the U.S. can offer a global awareness that was not available to these students at home. Most host families have a very keen interest in global awareness and multicultural events. The host families are empathetically interested in understanding the students’ cultural backgrounds and learning as they share their daily lives. Living with a family offers students extensive practice with English as well as an increased exposure to American traditions and cultures. The host families are generally aware of the intense study required at top academic schools, and they can support the international studenst in their new schools with things like parent-teacher conferences and home study techniques. These relationships often continue long after the student have graduated.
Kevin Merges is director of Program Advancement at Rutgers Preparatory School.