American Hosting Organizations
selected as American host organizations are non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations
that submit proposals to the Bureau. Proposals must demonstrate an
applicant's extensive experience in coordinating international exchange
programs and show strong support from leaders and institutions in
their home communities. Community Connections hosting organizations
include International Visitors Councils, World Affairs Councils, community
colleges, Rotary clubs, sister city projects and universities.
A grant award
from the Bureau covers many of the costs associated with the program.
Organizations are responsible for the overall planning and implementation
of the program, including arranging for all international and domestic
travel, internship planning and placement, local transportation, finding
host families, cultural programming, hiring of interpreters for non-English
speakers, and organization of seminars. The U.S. hosting organizations
work closely with local businesses and public and private organizations,
which volunteer their time and resources to develop and implement
programs for Community Connections participants.
Home stays are
another important aspect of the Community Connections program. Participants
live with local American families who provide the participant with
an intimate look at American culture. In many cases, host family members
and participants become close friends and continue to maintain contact
and visit each other once the program is over. Like host companies
and other organizations, host families volunteer to share their lives
with these international guests, providing direct exposure to American
culture and life.