Foreign students need host families

In 1985 Xi Jinping took part in an exchange program that took him from his home in China to the small rural town of Muscatine, Iowa.

It was a simple, humble experience, and a valuable exchange of cultures.

Earlier this year, Xi Jinping returned to Muscatine and shocked the small town with his visit — the man is now set to be the next leader of China.

“You never know where these kids will go,” said Robert Weschler, exchange group coordinator for the Northwest International Student Exchange program.

Weschler tells the story of Xi Jinping as an inspirational tale as he shares the benefits of becoming a host family to an exchange student coming to Bainbridge Island.

The Northwest International Student Exchange program has been active on the island for many years and Weschler has helped by pairing families with students.

Two groups of students from foreign shores will land on Bainbridge Island this summer; one from France and another from China.

Students coming from France already have hosts families, but all the students from China still need island families who can show them what Bainbridge is all about.

The benefit of living amongst the American culture is not a one-way street. Families who host students learn and experience the world as much as the students can by coming here. The Chinese students will range from ages 14 to 16 and will come from one of the more elite schools in Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan Province in China.

“These kids will be like freshmen in high school and have a little more worldly knowledge,” Weschler said. “Families can get to know a little bit about life in China.”

While on the island students will attend day classes at Hyla Middle School. They will also go out on field trips to sites in the area.

Interested families can contact Weschler at 206-853-3800, or at for details.

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