CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – A local exchange student program is looking for host families to participate this school year.

International Student Exchange Services is a nonprofit organization that pairs foreign exchange students with host families for either one semester or a full school year. It takes students from countries all over the world between 15- and 17-years-old and is meant to encourage different cultures to be shared.

“It’s a really great program for the host families to get to experience that on a firsthand basis and it’s also wonderful for the exchange students. They get to have families here in the United States,” said local ICES coordinator Cindy Hoover.

Families interested in taking in an exchange student would fill out an application online and undergo a background check and then meet with a coordinator (all coordinators are volunteers since ICES is a nonprofit organization) to discuss their daily life and what they are looking for in a potential student.

“I try to be like a matchmaker. I want to find a host student that has similar activities and similar interests to the host family,” said Hoover.

Then once approved, families would be able to communicate with their host student prior to their arrival to the United States. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all students will be COVID tested before and after entering the country.