Gina Crane has been hosting American university students in her home since 2001 and said that as well as being personally rewarding it also gives her hope for the Earth’s future.
The study-abroad program, Australia: Sustainability and Environmental Action, is run through the World Learning SIT Study Abroad, a university based in Vermont. Gina, from The Channon, is now looking for more families to become part of the homestay experience. The homestay is for two weeks, and local families have an opportunity to share with the students some of the ways that the Northern Rivers is leading the way in environmental sustainability.
“The curriculum integrates a number of themes: the natural environment of Australia, environmental philosophy and ethics, Aboriginal approaches to the environment and the principles of sustainability,” Gina explained. “The students are in Australia for a 15-week semester, travelling as they study, as the program has an emphasis on learning in the field. I really get a sense of hope from these passionate young people who are keen to make positive changes in the world.
“For my children hosting these students has really expanded their impression of the world, what we can do for the environment, and the variety of career paths that have a focus on the environment.”
Gina said the students were always enthused by their stay in this part of the world.
“It’s wonderful showing them the beautiful area we live in. What I’ve really come to understand from the students is that we, the Northern Rivers, are really leading the way in recycling and environmental awareness. When they see what we’re doing here in Australia at a grassroots level it often gives them ideas and helps them work out exactly what direction they want to go in. We as Australians sometime have negative ideas about American culture, but my impression is that these young people really want to see political change and environmental change. I get some really great feedback from the homestay families and long-term friendships are often developed.”
Homestay hosts are asked to provide the student with their own room, transport to Lismore CBD three to four days each week and breakfast, lunch and dinner on the days the student is with you. The homestay host receives $182 per week to help cover expenses.
The next group of students will be in Lismore from March 5-21. If you’d like to get involved or find out more, phone Gina on 6688 6188 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.