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Helena area host families sought for exchange students

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Posted at 12:53 PM, Feb 04, 2022

HELENA — The International Student Exchange provides a way for students to travel to other countries and go to school, putting 3,000 students in host family homes.

"I want to be an exchange student for the experience because I want to experience another culture, and I wanted to experience the high school life,” said Lars Heinemann, a German exchange student at Capital High School.

Helena and Capital High School offer five spots each for exchange students and East Helena High has two slots.

Heinemann’s decision to come to the U.S. was an easy one.

"I really like it here. I like the countryside of Montana. I like the mountains and the lakes and the activities you can do here, like skiing and hiking. It's really fun,” said Heinemann.

Heinemann has even joined the Capital High School cross-country team and a ski team.

Becoming a host family was an easy decision for Colleen and Joe Rahn.

"These kids are brave, and they're leaving their families and coming over to a family they don't know. We're not changing our life that much. They're changing theirs, so really, our decision-making process involved more like what's it going, what's going to be like with that kid? what are they going to be like? How are they going to accept us? " said Joe Rahn.

While the Rahn's have opened their home to Heinemann, exchange students will still need host families next year.

Debbie Sheasby with International Student Exchange says it is a great way to experience other cultures.

"It's good just to expose yourself to another culture without having to go to that culture. You can establish a friendship that lasts a lifetime, it's a good experience for if you have children, it's a good experience for them and of course, it's a good experience for the students that need a home,” said Sheasby.

People who are interested in being a host family for exchange students can contact Sheasby at 406-868-3650 or find more information here.