Heather Espeso, a 1999 Warren Area High School graduate, and her husband Luis, who are both English teachers in Valladolid, Spain, will be bringing 25 boys and girls from Spain to the area on July 2 through 31, and they are looking for host families who are willing to open up their hearts, homes and family to a student for the month.
The students, who are 11 to 18 years old, will become part of the host families, participating in the daily routines, chores and activities. It will be a full immersion into the American culture and the English language.
The Espesos will be in Warren for the month, and will be available 24 hours a day for whatever assistance may be needed to the students, host families and Spanish families.
Participants have all had English language study, Espeso said. In addition, they will undergo classes to prepare them for the trip. They are well-behaved and good students, she said, and are excited at the prospect of visiting the United States. All students come with all necessary medical, travel and liability insurance and legal documents as they are mostly minors of age.
"It's a wonderful experience for our students to see first-hand what rural American life is like and to be in a place hardly anyone speaks Spanish," Espeso said. "They have to use their English skills during the month."
When they return to their homes, they have improved English skills, American culture experience and, most importantly, new friends. Host families also learn a lot about Spanish culture.
This will be the sixth year that Espeo has brought Spanish youths to the area, she said, and many lifelong friendships have been formed.
Any families interested can check out the website, which is part of a small, family-run language learning organization, at www.unitedcultures.es or our United Cultures S.L. Facebook page to see pictures from last summer's adventure, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Espeo's grandfather, Phil Cerra, lives in Warren and can be reached at 726-2879, and he can relay messages to her.