Family is Malte Seeckts, Brian Chaney, Lilly Chaney, and Megan Chaney
GREENVILLE, Ky. (3/30/13) – Megan Chaney and her husband Brian embarked on a foreign adventure in 2004, without leaving their home in Greenville. Almost 10 years ago, the couple welcomed their first foreign exchange student into their home.
The two are local international exchange coordinators for EF Foundation for Foreign Study, based in Boston, Mass. effoundation.org
EF Foundation is a nonprofit committed to promoting global awareness for over 30 years. The foundation brings more international students to the U.S. than any other program of its kind. Students come from over 25 countries. EF Foundation is not only one of the top placing programs, but one of the top rated agencies.
The Chaney's have hosted high school age students from a long list of countries. Ms. Chaney noted "This next school year will mark our tenth year of hosting. We have had students from Finland, Austria, Italy, Norway, and Germany."
If you think you need to learn a foreign language to be a host, Chaney says, "Absolutely not! All you need to be a host family is to be willing to accept other cultures, provide room and board, and a supportive, loving environment.”
Students must have a minimum English level before they are allowed to come.
Lilly and Svenja Krueger (2007-2008) Germany
Stressing the communication factor that might make some shy away from the program, Chaney explains that on a scale of 1 to 10, regarding each students language skills, "I personally will only place those students who score a 7 or above. Therefore when students come they are able to communicate very easily with host families and other students.
To host a student, expenses for the host family consist of "room and board, a bed of their own to sleep in, three meals a day, and a loving environment. They also come with their own health insurance." Chaney said.
Chaney said one of the little pleasures she enjoys in hosting a student is just to hear them talk because they learn "British English". She said "One student mentioned wanting to wear his sleeve pants rather than his shorts."
Another enormous joy for the Chaney family is "watching the way our 4-year-old bonds with these kids. Of course we enjoy learning about their country and culture, their traditions. It's a learning experience all around for them and for us." Chaney noted.
Lilly and Malte Seeckts (2011-2012) Germany
She added that the relationship doesn't end when students leave their home.
"Our very first student from 2004 is finishing up his PhD at the University of Kentucky in Engineering, and getting married to a girl from Northern Kentucky. Our second student we hosted has just had a baby so we are now host grandparents. You gain a family member as well as extended family for life," Chaney added.
To find out how you can become a host family log on to http://www.effoundation.org/, call 270-543-8480, or 1-800-44 SHARE.
Photo provided by Megan Chaney
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