CAROLINE CROSSROADS Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
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You could host a student from a World Cup country


Soccer, the Sport of Choice for Bridging Differences

“So many of the teams we are watching and reading about represent the same countries from which our studentscome,” says PAX Coordinator, Sara Hendrickson of Caroline County, Virginia. Sara serves as a local representative of PAX – Program of Academic Exchange, a non-profit educational foundation, which arranges

US homestay, and high school experiences for teenagers from 40 different countries. The students arrive in August with the hope of becoming “sons” and “daughters” in American families.

“Despite the ideological and political differences that exist between nations, when athletes are on the soccer field, those differences evaporate. Soccer is one of the few things that can bridge cultures,” notes Sara Hendrickson.

“Hosting, like soccer, can also bridge cultures,” she adds. “When a foreign student gets to know Americans by becoming a family member and experiencing the everyday life of an American family, and sharing the customs and traditions of his homeland, the differences give way to what is shared.” Students like Jorge from Brazil and Jurgen from Germany are not superstars, but both are passionate about soccer and look forward to becoming a member of a Caroline or Spotsylvania County, or City of Fredericksburg, area family.

A host family is asked to provide a bed and a quiet place to study and to set an extra place at the table for meals taken at home. Students arrive with a basic knowledge of English, a spending allowance and full medical coverage. A host family need not have teenagers, and single parents and retirees can apply.

Sara Hendrickson invites local families to bet on the World Cup “winners by hosting a student from a world cup soccer country. She has information about boys and girls from Spain, South Korea, Italy, Ghana, Germany, Brazil, Serbia, and Venezuela, plus many others, with a passion for soccer as well as interests in cycling, music, basketball and cooking. “Our students not only will bring the spirit of the World Cup into your home,” notes Sara, but, she adds, “by the time you say good bye to your student at the end of the school year, everyone will be a winner.”

To leam moore about hosting, a family should contact Sara Hendrickson at (804) 448-2801 or call PAX at 1-800-555-6211 and ask tp speak with Brikena Samara