Natural Families

FLEX is a unique opportunity for your child to learn firsthand about American life and culture by living with a volunteer host family and attending an American high school. FLEX students improve their English, learn about the world and acquire important life skills during their year in the United States. Many parents are naturally nervous about sending their child to another country to live with a family for a year. The FLEX program organizations follow strict regulations and provide support to students during their program experience. If your child has a disability, this should not stop him or her from applying; since 1993, nearly 300 students with a disability have taken part in FLEX, and describe it as a powerful path to independence and increased self-confidence.

Your son or daughter will have the chance to share your home cultures with their host families and schools. Natural parents of FLEX alumni have commented on how much more mature and independent their children are once they return home, and express their appreciation at the care a U.S. host family, so far away, took with their child to nurture their personal development. Here's what some natural parents have to say about FLEX:

One more time I realize, that no matter what nationality, skin color, or religion you have, the love you show others defines you. I fell in love with American because of Mariam's environment, family, and friends. Thanks to you all she had the best year if her life and as a mother, I'll be forever thankful for that.

– Eka, Mariam's mother

We got to know Americans and their traditions and character. We have realized that mostly Americans are kind, honest and open people who try to get to know others. Our friends found it hard to believe that some American family would host some unknown teenager for a year without getting paid for that. But our view of the U.S. has changed dramatically.

– Dmitri and Nataliya, Artur’s parents

We are grateful for everything Pavlik has gained as a result of participating in the FLEX program. Pavlik has changed for the better – he has acquired a goal in his life, he has learned to make independent decisions and he has realized that his whole life is in his own hands.

– Yuri, Pavlo’s father

Your program has indeed had a positive influence on the development of our relationship with our daughter. My daughter has become more independent and confident in her abilities. She has developed an optimistic outlook on life, and I feel that I have adopted some of her confidence in the future and positive outlook. My daughter has broadened her circle of friends and acquired invaluable experience. I can see that she has matured, gained experience in dealing with money and become more responsible.

– Olga, Anna’s mother

The year Valentina spent in the U.S. helped her grow personally. She has learned a lot, has become independent and has met amazing people. Valentina developed a close, loving and respectful relationship with her host family. Their kindness manifests itself in the support and understanding that Greg, Christie and their children gave our daughter. They helped her to adjust in the new country and get to know better U.S. culture and traditions.

– Olga and Eduard, Valentina’s parents

The FLEX program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs