August 26, 2008

GOING PLACES – Student Exchange Needs Hosts

Wanted: Host families for international students.

That's the word from the Center for Cultural Interchange, which is designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor visas for high school exchange students from around the world.

In most years, more families volunteer to host than are needed, but this year - perhaps because of the weak economy - not enough volunteers have come forward, according to CCI.

"For the upcoming year, families are needed more than ever to help CCI meet its requirements," said Lori Tibbett, a placement director for CCI. "It's an opportunity to open a window to the world and learn about other cultures, traditions and languages not just through a textbook, but through real world encounters."

The deadline for applying to be a host is Aug. 29. The organization still needs families in Michigan, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Texas, California, Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois and other locations for 180 students. Most of the students still requiring placements are boys from Asian countries, though there are a few from Europe, South America and the former Soviet Union. The students are ages 15-18, in high school, and most come for the full academic year, 10 months through June.

If you're interested in learning more, visit host.htm or call (800) 634-4771.

CCI has hundreds of area representatives around the country to assist with placements. Families who are potentially interested can speak to a local representative or even another family that's hosted in the past before making a commitment.

All CCI students also have their own medical and accident insurance, and they have their own money for entertainment, school fees, clothes and other incidentals.

But host families are required to provide food, a bed, a place to study, and some transportation. Families do not get paid for hosting, but they can take a $50 per month tax deduction.

Science for kids

Is a family trip to a science center worthwhile with prekindergartners? Yes, according to Parents magazine, which conducted a survey of the more than 150 science centers in the U.S. and discovered that about a third of them have galleries designed for kids 6 and younger.

The magazine's September issue also came up with a list of the country's 10 best science centers, with an emphasis on those catering to younger children with hands-on exhibits and family- friendly experiments.

They are the Center Of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio; the Exploratorium in San Francisco; the Museum of Science in Boston; Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J.; the St. Louis Science Center in St. Louis, Mo.; the New York Hall of Science in Flushing, Queens, in New York City; the California Science Center in Los Angeles; the Sci-Port Discovery Center in Shreveport, La.; the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia; and the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore.

Discover S. Carolina

If you're heading for a South Carolina getaway, there's a new way to get information while you are on the way.

The state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism has launched two new Web sites for people with smart phones and handheld devices.

The sites provide information about events, lodging, shopping, dining and state parks but without all the maps, photos and graphics of the department's main Web sites.

The new sites are at and

- Associated Press

Originally published by Associated Press .

(c) 2008 Commercial Appeal, The. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.