Canadian Studies Program at Plattsburgh State University of New York.
Officials of Plattsburgh University are seeking community members who are interested in hosting an exchange student from a neighboring country while the student learns about American government and community services.
About 17 students and three faculty advisors from all over Canada including the Northern Tier, Yukon, Alberta and Nova Scotia will begin their program at the American Embassy in Ottawa to learn first-hand about their government. The group will then travel to Plattsburgh where they will take part in daily workshops on campus and learn about local history from July 10 through the 22. Finally, they will finish their program in Washington, D.C., where they will learn more about the U.S. government and see local landmarks.
The student exchange was arranged by the Center for the Study of Canada at SUNY Plattsburgh with the support of the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, United States Department of State, and the United States Embassy Ottawa & Fullbright. It is paid through a grant from the Youth Ambassador Program.
Theresa Bennett, Home Stay Coordinator for the Youth Ambassadors Program, said they are looking for a variety of hosts in the community.
“Single, a couple, homes with children, homes without children, we have so many ways to define a family here in America and we can show our visiting students or teachers the different ways we live our lives,” Bennett said. “We usually receive students from countries that are further away like South America but sometimes we think because they are so close we know a lot about them and sometimes we actually know less.”
Canadian students will participate in the program that emphasizes community service and is designed to promote a better understanding of civic participation and the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy. An important facet of this curriculum is staying with and getting to know American families. Bennett said the students will come from all over Canada and have diverse backgrounds. Some students are first-generation Canadians, First Nations members, of Inuit descent, and multi-generational Canadians.
Bennett said the host families will need to provide their guests with accommodations, breakfast, possibly transportation to the campus and a light dinner during the 12-day stay. The group will arrive in the afternoon July 10 and leave in the morning July 22. The participants will be involved in an intensive curriculum from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day.
“It’ll be an exciting time for both the hosts and the visitors, with the Mayors Cup being held at the same time there will be a lot they can get out and do at night,” Bennett said.
Bennett said some hosts prefer to take in more than one student or faculty member.
The participating students have never been to the United States before and while they are here will focus on how to make a difference in both the government and community service.
“The kids that are coming must be able to commit to stay in their hometown for at least a year after this program so they can implement a community service program in their hometown,” Bennett said. “The U.S. is one of the leading countries in terms of community services, many other countries believe the government should be just in charge of everything.”
People interested in hosting must submit an application and agree to a criminal background check. Bennett said the committee would like to have all the matches done in early June and asks interested parties to turn in their applications by the first week of June.
For more information about the hosting opportunity contact Bennett at 564-2160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.