Foreign exchange students lack hosts

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There’s no lack of foreign exchange students interested in spending a year studying and living in Norway. Finding Norwegian host families willing to take them in, however, can be a problem.

“We have many great host families but we need nearly 40 more,” Gunnhild Sølvberg of foreign exchange student organization AFS told news bureau NTB.

AFS is among the major organizations that match homes and students, along with YFU and Explorius, and all three were struggling this summer to find Norwegian families with whom foreign students could live. One couple, whose own children had grown up and moved out, opened their home for a student from Hong Kong and said they wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that others do the same.

“For us it’s been very enriching,” Anne Louise Hoen told NTB, not least because it was “very nice to have youngsters back in the house again.”

Norwegian authorities, meanwhile, have been asked to better regulate the screening of families in the US  who take in Norwegian foreign exchange students. Newspaper Aftenposten reported earlier this year on young Norwegians who wound up in dysfunctional families abroad, some of whom had criminal records and substandard living conditions. The state education ministry has promised stricter control of the organizations sending Norwegian students overseas.

Views and News staff