FARMINGTON — A nonprofit specializing in international student exchange is looking for families in Farmington to host students next semester.
Education, Travel & Culture, which is based in Portland, Ore., is looking for families to host high school students for the winter semester starting in January.
Company field manager Sarah Candelaria said most international students who stay in New Mexico have been housed in cities like Albuquerque, Raton and Alamogordo, and the organization hopes to expand into the Farmington area.
"The students would enjoy a small town as much as a big city," Candelaria said. "It's still extremely different from what they were raised in."
Students in the program hail from more than 16 countries, and, as a requirement of the program, they are fluent in English.
Candelaria said host families provide room, board and meals and incorporate the student into the family's day-to-day activities.
"They should do household chores like any other family member," Candelaria said. "Someone is truly coming and joining your family."
Before a family hosts a student, the organization runs background checks on family members 18 and older and conducts in-home interviews.
Albuquerque residents Denise and Andy Raykovics hosted a teenage girl from Germany for the 2012-2013 school year.
"It was easy, an adjustment to having someone live in our home 24/7 for the school year, but it was very natural," Denise Raykovics said. "She clicked with our family right away."
The Raykovics, who still communicate with the girl via video chat and Facebook, encouraged anyone interested in hosting a student to apply.
"Their fears, any apprehension will be overcome once they get a student in their home," said Denise Raykovics. "They will see what a delight it is to have someone from another culture take part in their family life."