Cynthia Hokenson of Preston, international exchange coordinator for EF (Education First) High School Exchange, the leader in high school exchange, is currently accepting applications for host families for the 2014-2015 school year.

Host families open their homes to a 15- to 18-year-old from one of a variety of countries around the world. Students come for one or two semesters and attend the local high school. Through the exchange experience, both student and family get the chance to learn about a new culture and promote global understanding, right here in the community.

Jeff Nolte, principal at Mabel-Canton High School, believes that having foreign exchange students in the local high school is a quality experience for the students. He feels the graduating classes that have had foreign exchange students have greatly benefited from the interaction.

Host family applicants undergo a screening process to ensure they are well suited for an exchange experience. To host, one adult in the household must be at least 25 years old. Among those who embrace the exchange experience are parents looking to give their children a glimpse of the world, without having to travel the globe. In addition, there are many successful host families who have no children, or have adult children no longer living at home, who are looking for new ways to connect to their communities, while gaining fresh perspectives on the world.

As an international exchange coordinator, Hokenson, along with EF High School Exchange's full-time professional staff, is responsible for matching the right students with the right host families, enrolling them in the local high school and providing students, school and families ongoing guidance and support throughout the year-long exchange experience.

If one is interested in becoming a host family or learning more about the program, contact Hokenson at (507) 765-3683 or call (800) 447-4273. More information can be found at