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Madison families can host visiting Korean students for a weekend

Madison families with teenagers have the unique option to host students from Korea during the first weekend in February.

Alabama Korea Educational Exchange Program (A-Keep) is coordinating the delegation of 25 students, 11 boys and 14 girls, who will arrive in Atlanta on Feb. 1.

On Feb. 2, the entourage will travel to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, where host families will pick up their guests. The Korean visitors will stay with Madison families through Feb. 4 and attend classes at Bob Jones and James Clemens high schools with their American hosts.

“The opportunity promises to be as enlightening of an experience for hosts as it will for the visitors,” Dr. Julie Finley said. Finley is an assistant principal at Bob Jones High School.

The Hwarang Institute in Korea coordinates the venture.

The students will continue their tour of the state at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville, Auburn University, Alabama State Capitol, Troy University and Mobile attractions.

Program officials prefer that a pair of Korean students will be matched with a family with a high school student of the same gender. “At least six families from Bob Jones and six from James Clemens high schools are needed,” Finley said. The students speak English and have liability and health insurance coverage.

The weekend stay with local families will expose them to cultural experiences they would not get in a hotel or group setting.

Interested families should contact Finley by Jan. 18. Call 256-772-2547.

Korea Educational Exchange Program is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing meaningful educational experiences to high school students in Alabama and South Korea. A pilot program was launched in several Alabama school districts last year.

State education leaders recommended Madison for 2013 because of the quality school district, the area’s strong international population and Madison’s proximity to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and UAH, Finley said.

For more information, visit AKeep.org.

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