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UMaine Offers International Exchange for Young People

Contact: Jill Coffren, 207-645-3248

ORONO, ME. — Maine 4-H International Exchange, a program of University of Maine Cooperative Extension, is offering Maine families the chance to host a Japanese student for a month this summer, between July 27 and August 22. This program is open to families with same-gender children close in age to the Japanese students, who are between 12 and 18 years old. Those who are interested are asked to contact Jill Coffren by phone at 207-645-3248 or by e-mail at jcoffren@umext.maine.edu for an application or for more information. Application deadline is April 1.

The program is a true exchange, as there is an opportunity for host siblings to later travel to Japan for a month, with the option of staying with their Japanese student’s family. Year-long exchanges are also available for the children of qualifying host families. Host families need not be involved with 4-H; they just need a willingness to share their lives with a young person from Japan.

Japanese delegates coming to Maine want to experience everyday life in America and build English skills. The Japanese youngsters are happy to share a room with their host sister or brother, and they bring their own spending money and insurance. Delegates look forward to doing family chores, learning new games, shopping, trying new foods, and sharing their own Japanese culture with their host family. Participants are matched with hosts based on similar interests, and they often comment that being a part of the family is the best part of their stay. Host family applications include a background check and a visit from a representative in the home before approval.

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For more than 90 years, University of Maine Cooperative Extension has supported UMaine’s land-grant public education role by conducting community-driven, research-based programs in every Maine county.

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