DEARBORN — In the last year, many international exchange students were unable to come to the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
World Link, an organization that links students from different parts of the world to host families, provided these students with a virtual program linking each student with an American host family and American peers and also connected them to American school clubs and events.
While this virtual exchange helped to build some global connections over the past year, the organization is looking forward to the expected return of international exchange students to American schools this fall, if conditions permit.
The organization is particularly interested in finding families in school districts in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and Hamtramck and the greater southeast Michigan area that would like to host students from countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast and Central Asia, the Balkans and other parts of the world.
“We were disappointed by the news that exchange students were not able to come last year, but agreed to the decision as the well-being and safety of the students must come first,” said World Link President Curtis Stutzman. “We believe we have been able to do the next best thing to in- person programming and provided a wonderful virtual exchange program for our students.”
Recently, as part of the virtual program, World Link organized its first ever global service project, called “Kindness Cookies.” World Link asked its virtual program students, program alumni, host families and supporters to bake and share cookies with people in need in their local areas. During the month of December, kindness was spread by delivering more than 9,600 cookies in 22 countries across the world.
World Link is currently recruiting host families who will host 155 students in select states, including Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. It has identified high schools that are willing to accept exchange students planning to come this fall and the selected students now need interested host families.
To learn more about becoming a World Link Host Family, email email@example.com or call (515) 491-1551 for more information. Students are sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and placed by World Link.