Northern Illinois University

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News Release

Contact: Leslie Shive, NIU International Training Office
(815) 753- 9546

September 29, 2009

NIU center seeks host families
for brief international exchange

DeKalb, Ill. — Northern Illinois University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies is seeking families in DeKalb and Sycamore to participate in a youth-exchange hosting opportunity this fall.

Host families are needed for 32 high school students and adult educators from Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia. They will be participating in a three-week leadership training institute known as the Southeast Asian Leadership Program. It is being designed and implemented by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and is funded by the U.S. Department of State.

The institute will promote high-quality leadership, civic responsibility and community activism among the participating countries’ future leaders, preparing them to conduct projects that serve their home communities. Participants are selected through a competitive application process, have outstanding academic credentials and are fluent in English.

An integral portion of a U.S. Department of State Youth Leadership Program is the required “home-stay experience.” Family members benefit as they learn firsthand about another culture — its geography, history and society.

Hosting an exchange student also provides families with the opportunity to be goodwill ambassadors without leaving their homes. Host families can ensure that exchange participants have a positive experience and take home a positive impression of the United States. Hosts can also serve to improve the image of the United States abroad by helping to dispel stereotypes that develop from images in American television and film.

The students and adult leaders will stay with their host families from Nov. 25 to Dec. 6. Host family responsibilities include providing private sleeping space for the student, breakfast each morning, dinners most evenings and all meals on free days. The family is expected to transport its guest to and from NIU’s Holmes Student Center, where workshops will be held daily. Two free days, including Thanksgiving Day, are spent with the host family.

An orientation session for host families is scheduled for Nov. 23. Host families will be briefed on the program details, have a general cultural introduction to the countries represented in the program, meet the team of host families and hear from host families that have participated previously in youth exchange programs.

Interested families should contact Julia Lamb, outreach coordinator for the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, at (815)753-1595 or; or Leslie Shive, host family coordinator, at (815)753-9546 or More information and a host family application download are available online at

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