May 18, 2014
Since she arrived in central Virginia last August, Soobin Han has kept busy.
"I started field hockey, I started softball, I was in a play, I'm now in choir in school, I also do figure skating and ballroom dancing," said Han. "So it's like a whole new world for me."
The Covenant School sophomore says, as an exchange student, doors have opened up for her.
"It has been quite awesome because I got all the experiences I never had before when I was in Korea," she said.
One door that has opened up is the front door to Suzanne A. Coffey's home. That's where Han has been staying.
When Coffey's kids grew up and moved away, she decided it was time to "be a mom again," and turned to the Face the World international exchange program.
She says it's a mutually-beneficial relationship.
"They share their culture, we share our culture," said Coffey. "We give our hearts to them, and they hopefully give their heart to us and, you know, it works out really well."
Coffey is now the regional director of Face the World. The organization works to get exchange students enrolled in local high schools, then the students stay with their host families typically for six to ten months.
"The student is supposed to be part of the family, so that means chores and making meals and doing their own laundry and really becoming part of the family so they know what it's like," said Coffey.
Han says she's learning both inside and outside the classroom.
"Just seeing how people think differently and act differently is really interesting and opens your mind to the bigger world," she said.
Coffey says they're looking for about 50 Virginia families to volunteer as hosts. Each family receives a $50 tax deduction per month to help with the costs.
For more information on the organization, click HERE. To learn more about hosting, contact Coffey at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or 434-825-4362.