One of those ideas that's come up a few times is of hosting a foreign exchange student: a 4.5 or 9 month, temporary expansion of our family to include someone from outside the United States while they study in an American school.
When I was in high school, the foreign exchange students who studied in our school were some of my favorite people (of course there were exceptions). I enjoyed spending time with them, getting to know their culture, helping them understand American culture and norms better, helping with their English, get out into our own community more (showing it to someone else gets you more familiar with it), etc. I would love to help a student get the best possible experience coming here to learn.
Now that we own a bigger house, with a guest bedroom, inviting a student to stay with us for a school year is more feasible, which has gotten me interested in looking further into it.
Unfortunately, it seems that there is a whole mess of information and, since the repurcussions of doing this impact other people's lives, I'd like to know what is going on before I move forward on it.
There are clearly tons of organizations through which you can host a foreign exchange student. Are the big ones (the ones at the top of Google, for instance), better at setting things up and managing the whole process? Are some of these agencies complete, logistical nightmares? Have any of you hosted a student or had first hand experience with which one of these organizations I should inquire through?