International Matters

Mustang delegation pictured left to right are Angela Owen, Mike Wallace, Lena, Jana Brence, Katherine, Guilia, Giulia, Linn, Dana Wallace, and John & Kim Koumbis. (Courtesy Photo)

Mustang delegation pictured left to right are Angela Owen, Mike Wallace, Lena, Jana Brence, Katherine, Guilia, Giulia, Linn, Dana Wallace, and John & Kim Koumbis. (Courtesy Photo)

Local families needed to host global students

Curiosity.

It’s what brings young people from around the globe to the United States every year, including right here in Mustang, as foreign exchange students.

Last year, local families hosted students that attended Mustang and Putnam City High School. They included John and Kim Koumbis, the owners of Kim’s Place FAA housing here in Mustang. The couple actually hosted two semester students with Isabelle from Germany and Giulia from Italy.

Then Mustang Police Officer Mike and his wife Dana Wallace hosted Lena from Germany last school year. Finally, a third family also from Mustang, Sammy and Jana Brence, who is a Mustang 911 dispatcher, hosted Katherine (her American name) for the full school year from China.

Angela Owen hopes to give more international students a similar experience this year as she is looking for new host families.

Owen, who teaches gifted and talented with Putnam City Schools, lives in the Mustang area with her three sons and enjoys working with Mustang High School, she said, to place foreign exchange students.

“The students have had good experiences and there are a lot of opportunities at Mustang,” Owens said.

She said the high school has already reserved two spots for students but Owens doesn’t have any host families yet. Owens said anyone can make a good host family, but commented that recent empty-nesters or families with similar-aged children are often the best.

When a family hosts a student, they can expect the student to come with their own money and health insurance. The family is only asked to provide meals and room and board. She noted that the student can share a room with another family member, as long as they are within five years of age.

Students must test and demonstrate knowledge of the English language for qualification and host families have to past a background and home check, Owens said.

This school year is Owens’ second year to be involved with the Education Travel & Culture student exchange, she says. She is the local coordinator for the company and has used her experience in her own classroom by talking about the various countries her students are from, she said.

To learn more about becoming a host family, contact Owens at 464-3139 or email her at [email protected] More information is also available online at www.edutrav.org.

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