Open your home to an exchange student this summer

By Rachel Kytonen

If you’re a local family looking for an exciting opportunity this summer, consider opening your home to a high school student from Spain this summer.

Hailey and Tyler visit with their exchange student Sofia in July 2010. Sofia lived with Andrea Schroeder and her two children while in Cambridge as part of the Compass USA - Homestay program.

Compass USA Homestay Program Coordinator Cindy Schroeder said eight local families are still needed to host high school students from Spain June 27 through July 27.

Schroeder said her family has hosted students the past few years, and feels it has always been a good experience.

She said the students coming from Spain this summer can speak some English, but noted Compass USA also sends an adult representative with the group as well.

If a family is interested in hosting a student, they should call Schroeder as soon as possible, and she will come meet with them to talk more about the process.

A background check on the potential host family is also administered through Compass USA’s main office out of Denver.

“We try to match a student and a family that has similar interests,” Schroeder said. “We want this to be an awesome experience for the students and the host family.”

Schroeder stressed there are options available for a family if they would like to host an exchange student, but have a family vacation planned or some other conflicts. She explained the month-long stay can be split between two families if needed, and a family doesn’t need to have children to host an exchange student.

Compass USA was founded in 1999 by a group of experienced homestay colleagues to provide educational opportunities for youth and adults in the United States.

They are dedicated  to the principle that living inside an international culture is the key in the journey to achieve international understanding.

Schroeder said she plans three official activities per week, and the only responsibility for the host family for these activities is to make sure the student makes it to the gathering location in Cambridge. She noted the host families are welcome to join in on the activities.

A wide range of activities are planned for the students while they are visiting this summer and include trips to the Mall of America, Valleyfair, St. Paul Saints baseball games, and more.

Schroeder, whose daughter Kristin Peltz also works part-time with her for Compass USA, first opened their home to an exchange student over 10 years ago.

Schroeder, and both her daughters, Peltz, and Andrea Schroeder, have all had wonderful experiences with exchange students.

“The host families really receive an awesome cultural experience,” Schroeder said. “Besides friendships, they form a love and bond for each other, and it’s a great educational experience. Even the local host families we have in the area form friendships with each other because of this experience.”

Schroeder mentioned as a result of the bonds that are formed over the summer, often times, the host family ends up making a trip to the student’s home country to learn more about them and their culture.

“I encourage everyone to think about hosting a student from Spain this summer,” Schroeder said. “Relationships build through this incredible experience, and it really turns into a fun summer. We have tons of great activities planned, so it will be a great summer for everyone involved.”

For more information, contact Cindy Schroeder at 763-244-4031 or email [email protected]

More information on Compass USA – Homestay can be found at