United Cultures S.L. is once again looking for families willing to open their hearts - and homes - to Spanish exchange students.
For the fifth summer in a row, Heather Espeso, a native of Warren who currently teaches English in Valladolid, Spain and organizes the exchange program is bringing Spanish students into the area along with her husband, Luis.
"Some of the students were in the area last year or in years past and couldn't resist returning. For others, it is their first time in the Pennsylvania/New York area. All of the students are very excited," Mrs. Espeso said.
United Cultures S.L. is looking for families to host Spanish exchange students this summer. Twenty-four students are in need of homes for the month of July.
According to United Cultures S.L., host families are expected to provide a clean and loving home environment along with three nutritional meals per day. The students bring their own spending money to pay for all of their activities, snacks and shopping.
There are 24 students that will be in need of homes for the month of July. There are 16 girls between the ages of 13 and 18, and eight boys between the ages of 14 and 16.
The students will arrive July 2 with the Mrs. Espeso and her husband, as well as a monitor. All but one of the students will leave July 31. One of the students will be staying until Aug. 23.
"It is a wonderful experience for our students to see first-hand what rural American life is like, and to be in a place where hardly anyone speaks Spanish. They have to use their English skills during the month," Mrs. Espeso said.
Host families are expected to provide a clean and loving home environment along with three nutritional meals per day. The students bring their own spending money to pay for all of their activities, snacks and shopping.
"The focus is on learning about each other's culture and making lifelong friendships. The program provides the family and students with ideas for activities they could do inside and outside the home, which are based on family fun without having to spend much or any money at all," Mrs. Espeso said.
Mrs. Espeso and her husband will be available 24 hours a day to attend to any concerns that may arise. Once the host family sign-up process is completed, the family will be given the student's picture, letter and information so that they may begin to communicate with the student before they arrive.
The family will also be given a host family guidebook with ideas and helpful tips.
MEET THE STUDENTS
Alvaro, 16, loves sports, plays soccer and really had an interest in baseball when he spent time here during the past two summers. He enjoys listening to music and plays the saxophone. He is allergic to cats and won't be able to live in a house that has cats.
Alfonso, 16, will be leaving the U.S. on July 28 because he will be taking a family vacation. Alfonso is looking forward to having a good time with his American family and improving his English. Some of his hobbies include fishing, winter skiing, cooking, and riding bikes. He likes animals, computers and watching movies. Alfonso plays soccer and participates in judo. He enjoys listening to music, going to amusement parks and playing video games.
Nacho, 16, likes swimming, boating, fishing, winter skiing and riding bikes. He also enjoys computers, board games, visiting museums, watching movies and playing video games. He loves hanging out with his friends on the weekends and plays sports such as golf, basketball, and volleyball and has a love for tennis. He normally attends Catholic Mass with his mother and sister. Nacho is allergic to cats and will not be able to stay at a home with cats. He is ready for his third trip to the U.S. and is waiting to meet his host family, have fun, learn about the U.S. and improve his already good English level.
Pablo, 15, enjoys traveling, swimming, cooking, going to parks, riding bikes and loves animals. He is an official soccer referee for small children in his home city and referees on the weekends. His hobbies include visiting museums, watching movies, going to the theater and he also has an interest in art and history. He plays tennis, basketball, soccer and volleyball. He is excited about his third trip to the U.S. and is prepared to be another member of his host family, to have fun and to improve his English conversation skills.
Jorge, 14, is an only child and hopes to share his summer with American siblings. He is excited to meet new people, have fun and improve his English. Jorge's interests and hobbies include swimming, skateboarding, playing tennis and basketball, listening to music and playing musical instruments. He enjoys watching movies, computers, going shopping, amusement parks and playing video games. He would love to learn more about outdoor sports such as skiing and horseback riding.
Juan, 15, would like to get to know the American culture, a new form of life and practice English. His hobbies include playing soccer, video games, visiting museums and going to parks. He enjoys reading and winter skiing. He is open to all kinds of activities and hopes to learn more about American sports and outdoor activities.
Nicolas, 14, has been in the state of New York with his parents who are both English teachers. He is excited to practice his English skills, make new friends and get to know the American culture even better. His favorite activity is playing tennis. He also enjoys basketball, soccer, swimming and jogging. He likes to read, go on picnics, ride bikes, and play with computers, video games and board games. Nicolas enjoys watching movies, he likes animals and listening to music. He does not have any siblings, so he looks forward to staying with a family with other teenagers.
Eduardo, 15, enjoys all sports, going to amusement parks, music and cooking. He likes to watch movies and play video games as well. Eduardo likes fishing, swimming, winter and water skiing, kayaking and going on picnics. He enjoys animals and is ready to adapt to his American family's way of life. Eduardo's sister, Yolanda, will also be coming to the U.S.
Yolanda, 17, has hobbies that include swimming, reading, skiing, rock climbing and jogging. She also enjoys cooking, going to parks, having picnics, canoeing and kayaking. Yolanda enjoys riding bikes, shopping, playing board games, watching movies and playing many sports such as tennis, soccer and volleyball. She likes to listen to music, dance and go to amusement parks. Yolanda is allergic to horses, cats and dogs and although she loves animals, she cannot live in a house with them. She is excited to improve her English, live new experiences and meet new people.
Paloma, 16, wants to learn English, meet new people and have a good time this summer. Some of her hobbies and interests include reading, hiking, jogging, swimming, riding bikes, shopping, visiting museums and attending church services with her family. She plays basketball and likes listening to music.
Ines, 16, enjoys playing soccer and basketball, listening to music and dancing. She likes to read, swim and jog. Ines loves animals and riding bikes, shopping and watching movies. She likes to spend time with her friends, nature, traveling and seeing new places around the world. She is excited to practice English, know how an American family lives, visit interesting new places around the area and have a great time.
Blanca, 16, is excited to improve her English skills, learn about the American culture, visit a new place and make new friends. She enjoys swimming, camping, jogging, riding bikes and shopping. She likes animals and computers. Blanca is excited to learn more about outdoor sports and also hopes to learn more about American sports.
Claudia, 15, enjoys hanging out with her friends, seeing new places and singing. She plays the guitar and loves music and dancing. Claudia plays tennis and likes to read, go on picnics, go shopping, painting and drawing and watch movies. She also really likes animals.
Andrea, 15, looks forward to improving her English skills and having a good time with her American family. She is prepared to be another member of her family and adapt to American life. Some of her hobbies include listening to music, playing soccer and basketball, winter skiing, watching movies and computers. She enjoys going shopping and loves animals. She hopes to learn more about outdoor activities such as boating, camping and horseback riding.
Paula, 15, has goals for the trip to the U.S. including to be a part of an American family and to learn more English vocabulary. She enjoys being around little children, playing tennis, dancing and listening to music. Other interests include cooking, reading, and swimming. Paula would like to learn more about sports such as basketball, golf, baseball and American football. She is Catholic and normally attends Mass with her family.
Angela, 17, is Catholic and enjoys attending church services and activities. She likes to read, cook, visit museums, art, listen to music and watch movies. She enjoys swimming, dancing, riding bikes, and playing tennis, soccer, and basketball. She would enjoy learning about American football and baseball, as well as outdoor activities of hiking, going on picnics, canoeing/kayaking, and horseback riding. Angela also enjoys being around small children.
Elisa, 16, is excited to visit a new country and get to learn about another culture. She hopes to improve her level of English and of course have fun. Elisa enjoys camping, hiking, canoeing, riding bikes, playing tennis and basketball, and dancing. She likes to listen to music, play musical instruments, go shopping, and she likes animals. Elisa would love to learn more about outdoor activities such as boating, fishing, skiing, rock climbing and horseback riding.
Maria, 14, is looking forward to being a part of an American family and improving her English skills. She enjoys boating, fishing and cooking. She likes animals and shopping. Maria likes listening to music and spending time with her friends. She hopes to learn more about American sports such as baseball and football in the future.
Carolina, 15, will be staying in the US from July 2 until Aug. 23. She is excited to get to know the American culture better, make new friends and learn more English. She loves animals and horseback riding. She hopes to live with a family that has horses and/or a farm so that she can help out with the daily chores. She is very active and enjoys riding bikes, playing volleyball and dancing. Carolina enjoys going to the theater, watching movies, going shopping and reading.
Lucia, 14, enjoys going to parks, painting and drawing, music and singing. She likes to ice skate, rollerskate and play hockey. Other hobbies include using computers and going shopping. She would like to learn more about outdoor activities such as boating, camping, fishing, water-skiing, canoeing/kayaking and the American sport baseball. Her family is Catholic and attends mass. She is excited to spend her vacation learning about the American culture, improving her English skills and being part of an American family. She is an only child and would love to be able to experience a month with brothers and sisters.
Cristina, 13, enjoys reading, swimming, cooking, hiking, picnics and going to parks. She attends Catholic mass with her family. She goes skiing in the winter and in the summer rides bikes, goes boating and plays tennis, volleyball, and golf. She likes canoeing, kayaking, dancing, listening to music, going shopping, playing on computers, and watching movies. She also likes animals. She hopes to improve her English skills, learn about American customs, and have a good time with her American family and friends.
Carmen, 13, enjoys many activities such as dancing, listening to music, watching movies, shopping, drawing, painting and art. She is Catholic and likes to go to parks and cook. Carmen also likes to go on bike rides and read. She would love to learn more about American sports and the American culture. She studies at a French school, so English is her third language. She is ready to be a part of an American family and hopes to improve her English skills while in the US.
Carlota, 14, is excited to learn about American customs and improve her English skills. She enjoys swimming, camping, hiking, jogging, going to parks, canoeing and kayaking. She likes to ride bikes, go horseback riding, and play sports such as golf, tennis, basketball, baseball, hockey and volleyball. Carlota enjoys cooking, shopping, art, painting, drawing, watching movies, dancing, going to amusement parks and listening to music. She likes animals and reading books. Carlota wants to participate in any outdoor activity and to learn more about boating, fishing, water skiing, and rock climbing. She really likes sports and is adventurous, outgoing and adapts easily to her environment. Carlota normally attends church services with her family.
Before coming to the United States, each student and their parents will have gone through hours of preparatory classes. The students are made aware that they are expected to be a member of their host family, including helping with household chores and participating in daily family activities.
Students have travel, medical and liability insurance, as well as all necessary legal documents. Their parents and host families sign all necessary legal documents.
For more information or to learn how to become a host family, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Phil Cerra at 814-726-2879.