Foreign exchange students asking to come to Texas Panhandle, agencies notice shortage of host families

KFDA Shortage of host families for foreign exchange students

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Texas has a reputation all of the world of being the place where cowboys roam, people ride horses around town and wear nothing but cowboy boots.

At least 58 foreign exchange students from two different companies have specifically chosen to spend their year learning in the Panhandle.

One student chose Texas to have the opportunity to be around horses.

“She does western ride in her village, and so she wants to come to Texas where she can be with someone who has horses,” said Shelia Touchstone of CIEE.

The problem these students are facing is it has become much harder to find a host family here in the Panhandle region.

School is about to start up, and the deadline to find host families is fast approaching.

Some agencies fear they won’t be able to find enough host families in time for these students to come to the United States.

“Uh, they won’t get to come, they will have to come back home, or we will have to place them somewhere where they don’t really wanna be. And all of those are bad situations,” said Touchstone.

All a host family is asked to provide is a bed, a place to study, transportation to school and three meals a day.

Students come with their own spending money and health insurance.

“They pay for their own personal items all their own shampoo, soap um school books uh clothing. When they go to the movies, if you go traveling somewhere, they pay for their portion of their expenses,” said Arleen Morley, an exchange program coordinator for Share Southwest.

Host families say it’s not just rewarding for the students, but for them as well as they learn about other cultures.

“Every one of them comes from a uniquely different area, and so we have not had one from the same town and so each one of them comes with their own set of customs,” said Leigh Morgan, an Amarillo host family.

The Morgan family shared with NewsChannel10 that they love spending the holidays with their students as they get to mix cultures.

“So the kids get to experience a traditional Thanksgiving, but we always have them bring a flair of their country to share with others,” said Leigh Morgan.

If you are interested please call Shelia Touchstone CIEE at (806) 584-7935 or Arleen Morley with Share Southwest at (806) 236-1134 or 1800-941-3738.

Copyright 2019 KFDA. All rights reserved.