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Group Seeks Host Families

Area residents have an opportunity to learn about France and its culture by hosting a teenager for two and a half weeks in July.

"They want to practice their English and learn the American lifestyle," said Wendy Ahart, referring to the 20 students looking for temporary homes in Northern Virginia.

Ahart, Northern Virginia regional program director for World Exchange, is seeking families to take in French students from July 12-31. The only cost to the family is time and meals. "They have their own spending money and medical insurance," she said.

She needs families to sign up immediately. If families are not found, the students will be turned away.

A free, two-hour orientation for hosts is conducted prior to the students' arrival. Families are asked to take the students sightseeing, but that's only a small part of the experience, according to Ahart. "They want to go to the playground, pool, grocery stores. They like to go to baseball games."

Ahart provides the students with a trip to the major sites in Washington, D.C. and to Kings Dominion.

The students do not reciprocate by hosting American teenagers. "It's a cultural exchange without the physical exchange," she said. "You learn a lot about France while the students are here."

For more information or to sign up, call or e-mail Wendy Ahart at 703-406-4229 or worldexchange1@aol.com.

<1b>— Andrea Zentz