You’ve probably had a Danish pastry. But have you had a Danish student?
Earlier this year, 18 students from a school in Denmark traveled more than 5,000 miles to take classes, meet new people and soak up the scenery and culture in Santa Monica.
The arrangement was made possible by families affiliated with Santa Monica High School who hosted the foreign students for about six weeks.
“The program was a great success,” said Disa Fink, a teacher and international study coordinator at the Danish school. “Students and families alike enjoyed the exchange.”
The exchange points to Santa Monica’s position as a destination for people around the world who seek out the City’s famous beaches, business opportunities and entertainment offerings, among other attractions.
An evaluation survey in March yielded positive reviews about the program, Fink said. And the success of the inaugural exchange convinced organizers at the school, Teknisk Gymnasium Silkeborg, to make the program permanent.
But in order for the program to continue, families in Santa Monica and the Venice area are needed. The Danish school is seeking more area hosts for the students who are planning to participate in the next edition of the exchange, which starts in January.
Earlier this month, Fink reached out to Samohi families through an informal email list of school parents, faculty and other stakeholders.
There were close to 270 registered students at Technical Upper Secondary School Silkeborg as of last January, according to the school’s website.
The 15 incoming exchange students, all of whom are majoring in communication, technology or English, will take classes at Santa Monica College for five or six weeks this winter. There are 10 boys and five girls, and they range in age from 17 to 19. All of them speak English.
“We are looking for homestay opportunities, preferably with children high school- or college-age,” Fink said.
The families receive $200 per week to help cover the cost of hosting foreign students in Santa Monica. Each student is typically given a bed, workspace, chair, private storage space, laundry access and three meals each day.
The students will have Big Blue Bus access during their stay, Fink said. Fink added that many of the students are comfortable without cars but would appreciate having access to a bicycle and helmet.
During their stay on the Westside, the students will be in school four days each week and take mandatory field trips every Friday. Host families sometimes arrange optional activities on evenings and weekends, Fink said.
The school can provide references from families in Santa Monica and Venice Beach who housed this year’s students, Fink said.
Interested hosts seeking more information should contact Fink via email at email@example.com.