14 exchange students attending RHS this school year; Program seeks host families

(Fremont County, WY) – 14 exchange students from the Education First High School Exchange Year based out of Boston are currently attending Riverton High School.

This year, Riverton was the highest-placing city in Wyoming.

“It’s because our schools are so great,” shared Amy Reid, the local international exchange coordinator. “Riverton High School lets us have about 12 to 15. And then in Lander, we can have four.”


Students come from 13 different countries, and Education First places about 2,000 to 3,000 students in American homes every school year. 40 to 50 exchange students come to Wyoming annually from the program.

Due to a lack of host families, Amy wasn’t able to place any students at Lander Valley High School this year. She noted she is actively looking for host families for next fall.

Student applications

Students start by applying to Education First in their home country. Education First then reads the applications, talks with the students, and places them in the appropriate program.

If the student is interested in really being part of a family and getting to know the culture of where they go, they end up in the High School Exchange Year.


“Our goal is to mingle cultures,” Amy explained. “They stay in their homes with their families; they really become a member of a family.”

Students then have information meetings with Education First, and if their applications move forward they’ll start having interviews to see if they really fit with the program.

They will then meet with the students and their parents to make sure the expectations are clear. Once they are chosen, their application goes into a database called the hub that international exchange coordinators, like Amy, can read.


She then selects students that would be a great fit for Wyoming.

“We really want them to be successful. All of our students are great, but you know somebody who wants to go to the beach every day is not going to do so well in Wyoming. Right? We’re gonna look and find people that we really feel can be successful and can handle Wyoming and then our job is to find host families for them.”

The students are considered seniors, so they get to have prom and take part in graduation. The schools have been really good about always letting them try out for things like sports.


They also have to come here knowing English. They must be fluent, however, each country has its own standards.

Students can come for either a year or a semester.

Cultural exchange

The State Department supports Education First because they want open communication and cultural exchange between countries.

Some people will only hear about America from what they see on the news, and this program opens it up for students to come here and see what it’s really like.

“They get to know real Americans, which is very different than what they’re gonna see on the news and then they take that back home, and it changes the way their whole city feels about Americans,” Amy said. “Then that grows to the country. So it really is a good thing for diplomacy.

“I have three of my own children, and just seeing them blossom over the last six years that I’ve hosted students and just open up their minds to different perspectives and different ways of thinking has been really amazing to watch.”

Host family responsibilities

The host family has to be able to provide three meals a day, a bed for the student, a quiet place to study, and rides to and from school. They can share a room but they can’t share a bed.

The student’s families pay for their school supplies, phone, trips that they do, and any school class fees.

The students and their parents know they’re probably going to have $200 to $300 worth of expenses each month. Students usually come with a debit card from their family.

Host families have an application as well and a background check. Once their application process is complete, they can view the full profiles of students and pick the right fit for their families. Single parents do qualify as long as they are 25 or older. 

“Our families come in all shapes and sizes and that is what makes the program such a great representation of America.”

Amy is actively looking for host families in Riverton and Lander for the fall. If you are interested in hosting or have any questions, she can be contacted by emailing [email protected] or calling (307) 851-3848.


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