Newstimes – With Apex International, families can gain a ‘better understanding of the bigger world’
May 6, 2022
“Maureen has hosted international students in her own home for more than two decades, but her recent experience with Apex International Education Partners yielded the most positive result.”
The Connecticut-based organization connects host families with international students who are seeking education in the U.S. It introduced Maureen to Jiarui, a 16-year-old girl from China who went by the name Annie.
Annie lived on the third floor of Maureen’s home earlier this year while attending school nearby. Maureen affectionately refers to this floor as “the dorm room,” noting the waves of international students who once lived there. Growing up in an immigrant community, Maureen recognized the value of experiencing different cultures at a young age. It was exactly what she wanted for her own daughter, Felicity, she said. “We all learned to play together, help each other, get along together, and that’s really important,” Maureen said of her upbringing. Felicity’s exposure to these international students, Maureen added, enabled her to “mature way beyond her years.”
“It does so much to help your own children be more accepting of things that are different,” she continued. “It gives them a better understanding of the bigger world.” Maureen’s horizons have also broadened while hosting students from around the world. Past students have held hot pots in her kitchen, and this year Annie introduced her to bubble tea. “I did like the concoction of flavors,” she said.
When Annie expressed interest in pursuing a career in fashion design, Maureen took the opportunity to teach her host student how to sew — a hobby she’s enjoyed since she was 11 years old. As Annie cut and sewed fabric into a dress, Maureen was overcome with a familiar sense of fulfillment. She recalled one of her past students, Kathy, getting into gardening during her stay. Kathy now studies environmental science at Berkeley. “In my house there’s always something you can teach someone else to get them to enjoy as much as you do, if not more,” Maureen said.
Now an empty-nester, Maureen said AIEP works with all types of families looking to open their homes to international students. She noted that the group’s high level of coordination set it apart from other organizations she’s worked with in the past. “In the past I had to go to the school nurse to find a pediatrician for the students, but (AIEP) did all the legwork,” Maureen said. “They’re very proactive, have a lot of information, and cover the bases on everything.”
AIEP is currently seeking families to host for the fall 2022 school year. A generous monthly stipend is provided to host families. Those interested can apply online at www.aiepusa.com, or call 203-992-AIEP to begin the process. If you know someone who may be interested in hosting, AIEP offers a $500 referral bonus if the applicant mentions that you referred them.
Full terms are available on their website. Host families must have a private room for the student’s individual use and internet access in a single-family dwelling. They must live within a 10- to 12-mile radius or no more than 30-minute driving distance of one of AIEP’s partner schools.
International students average between seventh and tenth grade and range from 13 to 16 years old. They must pass an English proficiency test to participate in the program, and will be set up with their own bank account and ATM card. Once prospective host families contact AIEP, a staff member will virtually visit the home to view possible accommodations and build a profile to share with the international student’s family. Once a match is made, AIEP will contact you to talk about plans and logistics.
Article Reference – NewsTimes