The Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX) encourages the exchange of ideas, values, and experiences among youth and leads to greater cultural awareness and appreciation, exposing young scholars to democracy, free market economy, civil society, and community service. The long term goal of the program is to prepare students to emerge as future leaders who will help lead and strengthen the newly democratic societies in their own nations.
Through the FLEX Program, students come from several different countries, including: Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. All of these countries are a part of the Eurasian region, which rests between eastern Europe and western Asia. This region is critical to U.S. diplomatic relations. Host families have the option to make a preference for the country from which their student may come.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • MEET OUR STUDENTS • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Lyubov is a 16 year old young woman from Russia. She loves animals, singing, cooking, drama and music. She would enjoy teaching her host family how to cook borsch and pelmeni, two traditional Russian dishes.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • HOST FAMILIES • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Many families may feel apprehensive about hosting a student for a full school year (Aug 2013-June 2014), but past families have reported surprise at the ease of the FLEX program. Some frequently asked questions are:
- Do I have to have children to become a host family? No, families are not required to have children of their own.
- Will my student speak English? Yes! This is a major requirement of FLEX students. The students take a rigorous English language test (SLEP) and have to meet a minimal language requirement. A small number of FLEX students (about 10%) attend an intensive English language program before they start school in the US.
- What do host families need to provide? Separate bed (not inflatable of convertible), storage and study space, access to bathroom; Three meals a day (bagged lunch if school does not provide lunch); Transportation to and from school activities (unless there is a school bus); Encouragement, care, and attention
- What kind of support does the student receive? Financial and otherwise? While host families do not receive any direct funds for hosting a student, a portion of your expenses paid are tax-deductible. FLEX students also receive the following:
-$125 monthly stipend (e.g. school supplies, toiletries, social activities, phone cards)
-$300 reimbursable incidental allowance (e.g. sports equipment, winter clothes, yearbook fees, etc).
- Medical insurance
- A large network of support (academic, emotional, programmatic) from local coordinators, World Learning, and the Department of State.
- Why host a FLEX student?
The best answer for that comes from a host mom herself:
“We have now hosted two FLEX students and it has been a wonderful experience for our family. These bright, enthusiastic young people have opened our eyes to another culture, sharing their own vitality and worldview. The relationships we have developed with them – especially their closeness to our own son – will last a lifetime. Is there a downside to hosting? Yes. They have to go home.”
-FLEX Host Mother in Virginia
If you are interested in applying to host a student for a school year, click the following link HF Application 2013-14 for a printable application or click on the following URL to complete the application online: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FLEXHFApp2013-14
In the upcoming days, more information will be posted here about this program and our local hosting needs.