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One local family welcomes foreign exchange student for the year, urges other families to host as program sees an increased need for host families

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 10:30 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Resuming foreign exchange programs means families like the Buesings have been meeting students at airports and preparing rooms in their homes.

The organization that coordinates foreign exchange programs said they’ve had to make changes in the pandemic. It was altered for a year and a half with students coming to the U.S., living with host families, but taking classes and doing other activities online. Now they’re trying to recruit more families to serve as hosts.

The Buesings are eager hosts, even if they had to wait a long time to welcome a student.

“Serendipity or fate, all of the sudden we’re bringing a student into our house so we’re really excited,” said Steve Buesing.

Now that their three boys are older, Abby and Steve are welcoming in a fourth family member, Luka Lomitze.

”I don’t really know a lot about him because he’s from a different country. It will be pretty cool to meet him,” said the youngest, Colton Buesing.

Becoming a host family includes orientation and training from people like Holly Beinhart with the World Link Foreign Exchange Program.

”There’s always challenges just like there is with any family, but we work through them and as a coordinator checking in that’s something we always get through and it’s a great experience,” said Beinhart.

Once Luka arrived in Cedar Rapids, both he and his host family were already confident in his experience.

”Yeah I’m super excited, I’ve been waiting to get here for a long time so it’s kind of a dream come true,” said Luka.

With a lack of host families post-pandemic, and the need for understanding about other cultures, the Buesings want to encourage other families to join them.

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