The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced yesterday a nationwide training and certification project for potential host families of international students studying in Taiwan.
The ministry said any families that were willing to offer free short-term accommodation for international students and were interested in cultural exchanges could join the project.
The applicants must have a steady income and the ability to communicate with the students in a foreign language, the ministry said.
The ministry said it would cooperate with the Rotary Club and several schools in holding workshops for families that are interested in entering the program so that the applicants can learn from experienced host families.
Families that complete a certification workshop would be eligible to have schools match them up with international students who are looking for host families, the ministry said.
At a press conference, Vice Minister of Education Lu Mu-lin (呂木琳) said the ministry’s goal is to recruit as many as 1,000 host families in the coming year.
“Families that host international students will have the opportunity to broaden their horizons while interacting with students from other countries,” Lu said.
Ted Liang (梁易宗), who has hosted international students for several years, told reporters that the quality of host families played an important role in determining whether an international exchange program is successful.
Liang said his interaction with foreign students helped him understand the importance of children learning something they are interested in.
“The students I hosted came to Taiwan to study something they were interested in, which in turn helped me realize that it was not a bad idea for my daughter to enter a vocational high school,” he said.
Nora Pohlmullner, a 16-year-old student from Hungary, said she had a great time being with her host family and had learned a lot of Mandarin from them since she arrived in Taiwan in August.
Even though she could not say a word in Mandarin when she arrived, she has since become comfortable in the language, she said.