Ask IRIS - finalWe would like to welcome the newest member to IRIS. Although fictional, Iris is our Exchange Student Specialist, whose job is to address any questions or concerns that you might have about IRIS or any of IRIS’ programs.

Hosting an international student is an enriching experience, where you can live, laugh and love with your Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) student as they experience the American way of life.

Iris’ duties entail fighting common misconceptions about hosting a YES exchange student and answering any questions that you might have about our programs and the hosting experience. The following are some answers from Iris:

1. I need to have kids in order to host.
Despite popular belief, you do not need to have children to be able to host a YES student with IRIS. In fact, hosting a YES student is a great snapshot into what life with kids will be like.

Often, potential host families get deterred from hosting a YES student if they have younger children. Some families think that it is best if their children are around the same age as our YES students, so they can get along. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to have a student in high school to host a YES student.

Even if you have younger children, hosting an international high school student is a great experience to expose your children to another culture. Hosting a YES student exposes you and your family to tremendous amounts of diversity. This is a great opportunity for your youngsters to learn about a different part of the world.

2. I need to be married to host an exchange student.

You do not need to be married to host a YES student! Here at IRIS, we have had an array of people host a YES student. It does not matter if you are single, a single parent, or married. The hosting experience is equally enriching for everyone.

3. Hosting an exchange student is expensive!

Actually, hosting one of our YES students is very inexpensive. IRIS accommodates all of the YES students’ travel expenditures to and from the United States.

IRIS provides the YES students with small monthly stipends to use as pocket money. Each family also receives up to $300 to help defray the cost of school registration and other school related items.

All of our YES students have health insurance and emergency dental insurance, so you do not need to worry if your YES student needs to make a visit to the doctor.

Host families are expected to provide the basic necessities for a student to live in a happy, welcoming environment. Beyond that, the hosting experience is only as expensive as you want to make it. If you want to take your YES student on an adventure to the Grand Canyon, this will obviously become an additional expense. However, hosting a YES student is far from expensive.

4. It will be difficult hosting a student who does not share our religion.

Hosting a student from a different religion is a fulfilling experience to learn more about a religion which differs from your own. In fact, we encourage families to host a YES student with a different religious background, because this allows you to not only learn about a different country and culture, but also a different religion. It also allows your YES student to learn about a different religion.

Learning about another set of beliefs is a great way to help spread IRIS’ mission to promote international understanding, development and peace by connecting Iowa to individuals and communities worldwide.

5. It will be too hard to communicate with an exchange student!

At IRIS, we take pride in our scholarship-winning and English-speaking YES students. Often, families are hesitant to host international students from predominantly non-English speaking countries. However, all of our YES students are fluent in English!

Here is another interesting fact that you might not know about hosting a Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) student: hosting a YES student is a beneficial experience for everyone!

Our YES students come from all over the world, which makes the hosting experience an amazing chance to learn about a different part of the world. Hosting a YES student is a life-changing experience for the whole family.

Iris is excited to start answering any questions that you might have. If you would like to find out more about any of our programs, feel free to post your questions in the comment section or call us at (515) 292-7103.

One Response

  1. Our family hosted an IRIS syudent back in ’09, Hellen Mushi, and we are possibly interested in hosting again next year. Please call me @ (319)-461-9378, I rarely get to the library to check my e-mail, so calling is better. Thank you. -Chrys Vest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *