Homes needed

Maryville College program looking for summer hosts for ESL students

Blount County families who would be willing to open their homes and families to Japanese high school students for 16 days this summer can help fill a need and make some new friends.

The Maryville College Intensive English (ESL) Program is looking for homestay families for a group of Japanese high school students within a 20 minute drive of the college for July 17 through Aug. 1.

Students will need to be dropped off at Maryville College by 8 a.m. and picked up by around 5 p.m. The preference is for families to host 2 students per home, and there is a stipend involved.

Teachers and staff involved with this group last year raved about how enthusiastic and fun these students were. Jack Vaughn, whose family hosted two Japanese students last year, said, “I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful experience we had with our two students… We have participated in other student homestay programs and this by far has been the best group of students we have met… I am happy to have two wonderful Japanese ‘sons’ to add to my own.”

Since 1985, the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at Maryville College has provided high-quality English instruction in a supportive environment to non-native speakers of English from abroad and from the local community. This program prepares students to achieve their academic or professional goals and succeed in social, business, and academic settings.

Only serious applicants should inquire about being a homestay family. Application and references will be reviewed, and a home visit will be scheduled.

Many groups choose to attend ESL in the summer. These special groups take intensive classes in the morning focusing on the fundamentals of reading, writing, listening and speaking, then get to enjoy fun cultural activities in the afternoon to learn about local and American culture. Some activities in the past included horseback riding, hiking, whitewater rafting, a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center and an overnight trip to Atlanta.

Being able to learn about the U.S. and use their English in real life settings makes a huge difference for students. Alejandro Ianni, a student from a special group from Argentina in 2008, expressed gratitude for the experiences and friends he made here.

“We are an Argentinian group that went to MC on January of 2008 to take the (ESL), and we had the greatest time there. Now, one year after the trip, we’re still seeing each other and hanging out. Maryville was a huge experience for us, and we have to thanks to the I House staff for it.”

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