Host families needed

GYMPIE host families for international students are needed.

Education First for Foreign Study (EF Foundation) spokeswoman Louise Foster said hosting a teenager from another country such as Hong Kong, Japan, Sweden or Austria could be a rewarding.

"Who on earth would bring a teenager into their home voluntarily? Many people have found it to be a very rewarding experience," Ms Foster said.

Prospective host families don't have to have children, or have children at home.

"Friends of mine hosted a German student, Franziska, not long after they got married, and it was a great experience for them.

"If you have young children, an exchange student could be a great addition to the family to help teach your kids about a new culture, tolerance and understanding," she said.

Another great thing about having an exchange student was doing those things tourists did in the region that you just normally took for granted.

"An exchange student is a great way to get the family to spend quality time together and to 'visit' another country without leaving home."

Ms Foster said having an EF high school exchange student stay provided a great boost to the local community and helped to make the world a smaller place.

Australia was interesting culturally and differed from most European and Asian countries with our laid-back attitude, hot weather and beaches, which was why so many students found it an attractive place to visit, she said.

Host families are being sought for students from Finland, Austria, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Sweden and Italy.

Phone Louise on 0435 301 774 or EF freecall on 1800 251 877.

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