This blog post was created by GPI US’ Seattle office.
In Seattle, we just wrapped up our spring season!
Seattle has been best known for its evergreen beauty, global tech industry and its safe environment compared to other big cities in the United States. The downtown is not too big, not too small, surrounded by water and green areas. Every year, GPI US welcomes high school and college groups to this area to run various programs.
What is the benefit of using GPI US to bring students to Seattle? There are many strengths GPI US brings to various programs, but one of the most notable is our homestay program. GPI US maintains its own host-family network to select host-families and place students. We generally don’t rely on other companies to place students to local families. We’ve met every single host-family we have, so you can trust us to find quality placements.
Our selection process involves paper screening, background checks, home visits and interviews. We want all of our students to feel safe and comfortable at their host-family home, and we want our host-families to feel the same while welcoming an international student into their home. Imagine having a stranger in your home for a week or two. Or imagine staying with a stranger family for two weeks. We’re sure it’s an uncomfortable experience. However, we want everyone to feel at home and enjoy the benefits of cultural exchange.
Home visits are one of our favorite parts of the process of host-family selection. We get to know our host-families and chat about what they enjoy and what they like to cook. We even sometimes end up staying for an hour to talk about their families and how much they are looking forward to having international students. We know and trust every single family we work with. That’s our strength.
Let’s talk about the benefit of a homestay program. A homestay program is the best way for students to be exposed to true American life. It’s more than just receiving meals, accommodation and transportation. They are immersed in an environment where they must speak English and learn and understand the nuances of American culture and family dynamics. They might be expected to do some chores just like the family’s kids. Students will learn what it is like to live with their American host-family. It is a true full-immersion experience.
But what is American life? Good question! Let’s say there are 100 host-families, then there are 100 different American lives. Some are Asian families, some are immigrants, some are African American families, and some are Latino families. Some might offer hamburgers for dinner, but some might prefer to eat Filipino food. But all of our host-families are curious about international visitors and hope to spend some time with them.
Be open minded and get ready to experience American life with GPI US programs!
Here are some words from our students:
“My host-family made effort to understand me even my English wasn’t good.”
“They were very kind. I hope to have a family like my host-family when I grow up.”
“The host-parents were originally from Vietnam but I enjoyed speaking English and learn about their culture.”
“I have new brothers and sisters in America!”
“My host-family welcomed me as a part of their own family.”