Ceramic Industry

PSA: Host a Foreign Exchange Student

July 31, 2008

I received a public service announcement (PSA) yesterday afternoon from Youth for Understanding (YFU), a high school student exchange program:

“Welcome a young person from Brazil, Japan, Germany, Morocco, or one of over 60 countries into your home. Share your home and change the world. Host an exchange student from Youth For Understanding USA.

Students are scheduled to fly to the U.S. throughout August, and many are still awaiting news of their host families. Provide them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity -- host for just 90 days to get them off to a good start!

Call 1-866-493-8872 or visit our website at www.yfu-usa.org to find out more information on becoming a host family or support volunteer with Youth for Understanding.”

To be perfectly honest, my reasons for sharing this with you are not altogether altruistic. According to a recent report from RAND Corp., a nonprofit research organization that recently published a report regarding U.S. leadership in worldwide science and technology, “An inflow of foreign students in the sciences – as well as scientists and engineers from overseas – has helped the U.S. build and maintain its worldwide lead, even as many other nations increase their spending on research and development. Continuing this flow of foreign-born talent is critical to helping the U.S. maintain its lead, according to the study.” (Visit www.rand.org for additional details or to purchase the report.)

RAND was focusing on university-level students, certainly, but if talented high school students visit the U.S. and have good experiences here, it seems likely that they’ll be more inclined to return for later schooling or employment. Perhaps hosting a foreign exchange student could provide multiple, wide-reaching benefits.