sealPurdue News

February 8, 2002

4-H exchange program seeks host families

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – 4-H educators are seeking host families from across Indiana to house approximately 60 Japanese students visiting this summer. The students are part of the 4-H/Japanese Exchange Program that has hosted delegates for 22 years.

The delegates are either students at Tokyo's Meiji Gaukin High School or members of the Labo Foundation, a Japanese foreign language program. Exchange students from Meiji Gaukin High School will be in Indiana from July 23 to Aug. 17. The delegates from the Labo Foundation will need hosts from July 26 to Aug. 21.

Chris Cook-Leitz, 4-H Extension specialist at Purdue University, said some families hesitate to become hosts because they believe they need to provide special activities to entertain the Japanese students. She said the students enjoy being part of an American family, including everyday activities.

"The Japanese student becomes a part of your family for four weeks. They like to go to baseball games, family reunions and county fairs," Cook-Leitz said. "The best experience for these students is to learn about American culture by participating in it."

Japanese students are matched with host families that have a child of the same gender and approximate age as the visiting student. Families do not have to be currently involved with 4-H or its programs to participate.

All of the Japanese students have basic knowledge of English. Host families provide housing and meals. The students come with spending money and have their own health insurance.

While the program provides a learning experience for the Japanese students, host families also benefit.

"My family and I have hosted three Japanese students," said Maryann Alldredge, 4-H International county coordinator. "Each hosting experience is different, but each has truly been enjoyable and memorable for my family. The students' visits only last four weeks, but the friendships and memories last a lifetime."

Interested families should contact Cook-Leitz at 1-888-EXT-INFO or

CONTACTS: Chris Cook-Leitz, (765) 494-8437,; Maryann Alldredge, (812) 983-4819,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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