Program seeks host families

Students and adults are coming from some of the poorest countries

— Each household can host one or two guests.

There will be orientations for the host families to learn more about the culture of the participants.

“Through home stays, participants will be able to see first-hand what it is like to live in an American home,” said Dr. Bryan Higgens, director of international education at Plattsburgh State. “At the same time, they will be sharing their cultural background, enriching the lives of members of the Plattsburgh community.”

“It is very rare you can have this much of an impact on someone in such a short time,” Bennett said.

Dr. Jean Ouedraogo sees the exchanges as a boost to the local economy.

“The federal funds will translate directly into an employment opportunity for folks within the college and local community and indirectly for service providers,” said the program director. “Beyond such immediate positive impacts, we are hopeful that SUNY Plattsburgh will become part of the mix of U.S. colleges that students from the six countries consider in the future, bringing tuition dollars to the college.

“Above all, the future leaders to come out of this extraordinary experience will always associate our community with their success.”

Participants in the program will visit government agencies and schools, providing an opportunity to local language and social studies teachers “to engage their students and their visiting peers in an enlightening give and take,” Ouedraogo said.

“Truly, it's a long-lasting gift to participants and host families,” he said. “The students will still carry with them the positive outlook and vibrancy of leadership we will awaken in them. We can unleash potential in people we may never see again, but who will be forever grateful.”

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