ASSE International Student Exhange Programs in cooperation with the Smith Cotton High School is seeking local families to host boys and girls between the ages of 15 to 18 from a variety of countries around the world.This sounds like a totally cool way to get a little exotic culture here in the Midwest.  I did the study abroad program, but in college instead.  My experience was great, and the people were very nice to me.  I did feel a bit lost, and it might have been helpful to have someone there to go to.  When these kids arrive here, they’ll be set up with local families who will help them settle in.  They’ve got their own insurance, pocket money, etc.  All they’d need is a good home base so they can really see what Midwestern life is like.

When I went abroad, I went to the University of Central Lanchshire for a year.  I didn’t come home for any holidays (planes are expensive).  I was there from September ’98 to May of ’99.  When I got to the airport, I didn’t know anything but the basics.  I even had the wrong papers, and had put the important immigration stuff in my luggage instead of my carry-on.

I had to make my own way from the Manchester Airport to Preston, which was a good 45 minutes away.  I had to depend on my wits, so to speak.  It was very strange to be without a car, and have to walk everywhere to get to the store or what have you.  I was 19 when I went over, so just imagine what these youngins will be experiencing.

That’s why they need your help.  These kids are the best and the brightest, the most ambitious ones looking for a new point of view.  They’re coming from all around the world and they want the “real” American experience.  That’s why they come to little towns like ours; they’re more likely to experience what real everyday American life is like.

So if you can help, think about it.  Your family can really get to know someone from a completely different culture, and it’ll be enriching for you and the student.  You’ll see Sedalia the way you never thought you could; through the eyes of someone who is experiencing it all for the first time.

Students come to practice their English and experience American culture.  They will also share their own culture with host families.  Host families welcome these students into their family, not as a guest, but as a family member, giving both students and families a rich, cultural experience.

In addition, students have pocket money for personal expenses; and full health, accident and liability insurance.  To become a host family or find out how to become involved, please call the Midwestern Regional Office at 1-800-736-1760 or go to

Internationally yours,