Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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Host families needed for college students

          The ELS Language Center in Fredericksburg, a partner of the University of Mary Washington, will hold an open house on Sunday, May 20 for those interested in the cultural experience of hosting a college-aged international student.  The open house will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Eagle Village Executive Offices, Suite 350 and is free and open to the public.

During the open house, current host families will answer questions and share their experiences. International coffee, tea and desserts will be served.

The ELS Language Center in Fredericksburg began classes in November 2011. The center partners with UMW to bring international students to the Fredericksburg area to study English. Because of the location’s proximity to Washington, D.C., and the growing need for English as a second language, the student population has grown from 15 students to more than 50 in five months. Many students appreciate the opportunity to live with an American family as they learn English, experience American culture and form friendships.

One host said:

“Hosting an ELS Center student has been a remarkable experience for our family. The primary benefit has been a cross-cultural relationship that is educational and also very meaningful. We have learned about ourselves and our own country as we’ve shared our culture with our student from Saudi Arabia, taking her to a Super Bowl party, going to a bingo fundraiser at the elementary school and watching the election primaries this spring, particularly since Saudi Arabia has a king. She’s the student, but we are all learning!”

For more information, contact Allison Jerdan at