According to Pacific Intercultural Exchange (PIE) President John Doty, the students are all between the ages of 15 and 18, are English-speaking, have their own spending money, carry accident and health insurance, and want to share their cultural experiences with their new American families. PIE currently has programs to match almost every family's needs, ranging in length from one semester to a full academic year, while the students attend local public and private high schools.
“At this critical time in our country's history, hosting an international teen is the best and purest form of public diplomacy the United States has,” Doty said.
PIE-area representatives match students with host families by finding common interests and lifestyles through an in-home meeting. Prospective host families are able to review student applications and select the perfect match. As there are no “typical” host families, PIE can fit a student into just about any situation, whether it is a single parent, a childless couple, a retired couple or a large family.
Families who host for PIE are also eligible to claim a monthly charitable contribution deduction on itemized tax returns for each month they host a sponsored student.
For the upcoming programs, PIE has students from Germany, the former Soviet Union, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Hungary, Croatia, Korea, Mexico, Slovakia, China and many other countries. PIE is also participating in a special government-funded program to bring scholarship students from the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union to live in American communities.
PIE is a nonprofit educational organization that has sponsored more than 25,000 students from 45 countries since its founding in 1975. The organization is designated by the United States Department of State and is listed by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), certifying that the organization complies with the standards set forth in CSIET's Standards for International Educational Travel Programs.
Families interested in learning more about student exchange or arranging for a meeting with a community representative can call PIE toll-free at 866-546-1402. The agency also has travel/study program opportunities available for American high school students, as well as possibilities for community volunteers to assist and work with area host families, students and schools.