Host families needed for exchange students

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Two international students are hoping to spend the school year in Demopolis, learning about American culture and sharing their home cultures with others. Unfortunately, they need a place to stay.

“STS Foundation is looking for Alabama families to host Anne and Sabrina who, with a little help, will attend Demopolis High School this fall for the 2005-2006 school year,” said Brian Mar’grave, Regional Coordinator for the Inbound Program.

STS is a Not-For-Profit organization that sponsors international exchange students from 20 countries worldwide.

“Hosting an exchange student is a fun way for a family to learn about cultures around the world,” he said.

Host families are only responsible for room and board with a separate bed to sleep in and a quiet place to study, Mar’grave said. The students will bring their own spending money for activities, outings, clothes and more and will have their own health insurance already.

“They can’t drive or work while they are here, but trips are OK and even encouraged as long as they don’t interfere with school,” Mar’grave said.

The students would arrive in August and stay through the end of the school year in May.

“They will set up a bank account here and their natural parents will give them all the spending money the students might need for recreation, movies, sports uniforms or school clothes; basically the students are given an allowance done by electronic transfer,” he said.

Additionally, a local representative will be available to support and assist all parties.

Mar’grave is seeking families for two students – Sabrina S. and Anne Rasmussen, both from Denmark.

Sabrina Stenvedel, 15, lives with her mother in Denmark. She is described as a Christian girl who considers herself “sensitive, self-assured, and loving.”

She enjoys horseback riding, which she has done since she was 4, and loves sports. She also enjoys ballet, gymnastics and swimming and is very involved with the theatre.

“Since she was a little girl she wanted to be a big singer or actress, so she focused most of her time on singing, dancing and drama,” her bio states. “When she was in second grade, her mom found a school of music … (Sabrina) went for an audition and passed.”

Sabrina spent many years at the school of music, also attending a theatre for students seven to 19, before moving to a boarding school where she has spent the last two years.

In her bio, Sabrina said she feels that everything she learned at the school of music and the theatre will be helpful for her in the future.

A typical teenager, Sabrina enjoys talking with friends, watching movies and shopping. She also likes to cook, play tennis and enjoys camping.

She said she has never been to the United States, but has heard much about it and would like the opportunity to “make new friendships and become a part of an American family.”

Anne is also a 15-year-old from Denmark, where she lives in the small town of Bagsvaerd with her parents and her 19-year-old brother, Bjarke.

Anne’s parents and teachers describe her as “social and outgoing,” with an advanced view of the world.

“As already hinted, Anne is a very self-confident and outgoing individual,” one teacher stated. “I feel very confident that she will make a great high school student.”

Anne enjoys the outdoors, particularly working with animals.

“Anne has one interest that has lasted since her early childhood and that is the interest in animals,” her parents stated. “She loves all kinds of animals, even cows and pigs.”

They explained that in Denmark, students in the ninth class are required to spend one week gaining work experience.

“Anne used her week at her uncle’s farm with dairy cattle. She enjoyed working with the animals although the milking job at 5:30 in the morning made her tired,” they said.

Additionally, Anne participated in a school subject known as “outdoor life,” where students had the opportunity to try sailing, fishing, climbing, hunting, surfing and camping.

“She liked skiing and hunting best, and is very good at shooting clay pigeons,” her parents stated.

Anne describes herself as a typical teenager.

“I often go to the movies with my friends,” she states in her bio. “I love almost all kinds of music and one of the most fantastic movies, I think, is The Phantom of the Opera. It’s just so amazing. It was so powerful that I almost cried because of the music, which was so dramatic.” She said she looks forward to one day seeing the musical now that she has seen the movie.

In addition to animals, Anne said she enjoys school, particularly Danish, history and biology.

“I love languages and I think Danish, English and German is fun, but I find other subjects very exciting,” she stated.

A hard worker, Anne said she enjoys making her own money and works at a baker’s shop six times a month to do so.

“I would like to go to America because I’m very interested in other cultures and because I think America is a fascinating country,” she stated. “In Denmark we watch a lot of American movies and many of them are showing the great nature and big cities. Moreover, it would be a great opportunity to establish contact with people on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and become much better to speak English/America.”

For more information on Sabrina or Anne, or to find out more about hosting an exchange student, contact Mar’grave at brian@stsfoundation.org or at (800) 522-4678. For more information about STS, visit the Web site at www.stsfoundation.org.