LUBBOCK, Texas — The World Link exchange program said on Wednesday that it needs more host families through out the state and in Lubbock for the 2022-2023 school year.

Cathy Shipley, a coordinator for the program, decided to host an exchange student from Ukraine last year. She said her family didn’t have the means to learn about other cultures through travel, so she brought another culture into her home, while teaching her motivated exchange student what life is like in the United States and west Texas.

“It’s such a great state. There’s so much history and so much to learn; so much to do, and people are so friendly and loving. It would be a blessing for more students to be able to experience that,” Shipley said.

The program, which works with students from 60 countries, sees nearly 40,000 applicants annually, but only 900 students are accepted into the program. Texas families hosted at least 20 of those students last school year and Shipley said she hopes to surpass that number by the fall.

“Usually in Texas and in Lubbock, we would like to have 10 to 15 [host families]. Right now, we have two,” Shipley said.

The process is easy, she added.

“They have to have their own bed. You have to provide them three meals a day. You have to have, of course, a loving home, and you have to provide transportation to school,” the World Link coordinator listed.

Shipley said there a few common misconceptions about hosting an exchange student.

“People think it’s expensive. It’s not expensive. They have their own stipends they receive to pay for things. So you’re not out-of-pocket. [The program pays] for school supplies; that kind of thing,” she said. “The other one is, we’re too busy. They love busy families because they get to experience more.”

Whether you’re single, married, religious or not, the program matches students with host families that share similar interests.

Brooke Perkins, another program coordinator in Lubbock, sent KLBK News a statement:

“Host families make a real difference in the world. World Link students are great kids and are selected based on their academic success and leadership potential. By spending a school year with a host family and experiencing a new life they grow to reach that potential.

World Link is more than just an exchange, it’s a leadership program where the students are encouraged to volunteer and get involved in the community, school and host family life. At the end of the year, they have the chance to put together a  community project as a way to make a difference here while also preparing them to make changes when they return to their countries. We then see them go home and better their communities and countries in amazing ways. 

Host families provide the home and the love and support the student needs throughout their American experience and become their closest American connection. We are in our last few weeks of looking for host families for students arriving in August and we really need host families. Families can live in Lubbock or in a small surrounding town and all types of households can apply to host.

We have young families, families with teenagers, families with no children in the home, grandparents and empty-nesters. We work with all types of willing host families to find the best student to match their home and their interests and hobbies. Anyone who might be interested can visit: worldlinkinc.org/hosting-opportunities to learn more.”

Lubbock families interested in hosting an exchange student can also reach out to Shipley by emailing WorldLink.Cathy@gmail.com.