Permian Basin host families needed for exchange students

Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 7:10 PM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - Throughout August, students from across the globe have arrived in the Permian Basin to study for the school year.

Host families make that possible, but the international student exchange says there aren’t enough of them. The program is ramping up its efforts to sign up host families before the Aug. 31 deadline.

As many as 150 kids are waiting to see if a Permian Basin family will host them.

Marcos Lopez arrived in Midland from Spain last week. On Monday night, he awaited the arrival of Quirin Stetten from Germany. They’ll both spend the school year with host parents Dusty and David Armitage.

Lopez wants to accomplish a few things this year as a Midland High student.

“Go out of my comfort zone and learn how Americans live and their culture,” Lopez said. “And also improve my English.”

According to Shelbi Wicker, many kids like Lopez won’t get that chance.

“A large amount of kids [are] still waiting to be chosen to be able to come here, that probably won’t be, because we just don’t have enough host families,” Wicker said. “And so we would like some assistance in obtaining more host families for these kids.”

The Armitages are one family who stepped up to the plate.

“We saw a post that there was a need for it,” David Armitage said. “[I] showed my wife and she said OK. So we stepped up to the plate and took matters into our hands and did it.”

To become a host family, a home must have a bedroom for the student with a bed, dresser and window. Host families must provide three meals a day.

Host families are background checked and paired with students based on their hobbies and interests. They become part of the family, celebrate traditions and stay for a semester or the whole school year.

Wicker says the exchange student program is beneficial all around.

“Coming here can also teach all the other kids in the school that they’re enrolled in, they can teach them about their culture, about their history, which can only enhance both parties’ growth, not only as a student but as a young adult,” Wicker said.

Those interested in becoming a host parent can call 432-413-1882 to find out more and start the application process.