Last April, 14 French students came to the Buxton, Maine community on our Taste of American High School Homestay Program. On this program they had the opportunity to experience shadowing classes at a local high school, while staying with local host families.

Judy Farwell, the local coordinator for the group, has been working with exchange students since 2014. Over the years, she met so many amazing families, some of which are now close friends. She likes to keep in touch with her participants; this year, she even visited one of her short term Spanish students in Murcia, Spain!

For her recent French group, she managed to make great matches between families and students.  One of the host families in particular recently sent her an email to let her know that they had called their student and her parents after she returned home.  They had become very close during the program and saying goodbye wasn’t easy; the farewell party was very emotional.  The student had kept a daily journal of thoughts and activities and she read the journal to her natural parents to share everything she did in Maine.

Randa Thomas, French teacher at Bonny Eagle High School, Standish (ME),told us the effect the experience had on her class. “One of my students who has been dragging his feet on speaking French in the past two years volunteered to speak left and right! He corrected his neighbors (appropriately) and was very proud of himself. When I commented on how well he was doing today he said, ‘Those French kids really motivated me!’ He told me that he was talking with his mother on the weekend about what he wanted to do in the future. He told her he wanted to travel and that he wanted to travel to France. I was incredulous, because this was totally new for him.” She heard similar comments from all of her class throughout the day. They felt more confident that they could really communicate with a native speaker!

Do you want your students to live a similar experience ? Learn more about Greenheart Exchange!