What should I know about ERDT and EnVision?
Educational Resource Development Trust (ERDT) has over twenty years experience promoting cross-cultural exchange. We are well respected in the exchange community (overseas agents, host families and coordinators) specifically for our personal approach to student exchange. We are a medium-sized organization—large enough to provide stability and variety but small enough to maintain a personal touch. Being as selective as we are, we can maintain a family-like atmosphere that extends to our field staff, host families, and exchange students.
ERDT was established in 1974 and has been successfully involved in working with international students–both individually and in groups—for short-term and long-term educational and homestay programs. In 1980, ERDT was designated by the United States Department of State to sponsor high school exchange students—our SHARE! Student Exchange Program. In addition, ERDT/enVision organizes various Special Programs, including short-term homestays, academic year programs (SHARE!) and outbound programs for Americans. ERDT is included in the Advisory List published by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), an independent not-for-profit organization committed to qualify international educational travel. CSIET establishes standards for organizations and monitors compliance with those standards. ERDT is proud to have met the criteria for listing in the CSIET Advisory List since 1984.
How is the participant’s fee put to use?
The exchange students pay a fee in their home country that is established by our partner in their home country. The fee covers the many costs and expenses that are necessary for a successful exchange program, including round-trip airfare to the final destination in the U.S. and a student pre-arrival orientation meeting. The overseas office also uses a portion of the fee for promoting the program and for office overhead and administration.
In the United States, ERDT uses approximately 30% of our fee for placement, orientations, and supervision. Another 10% covers health and accident insurance for the entire period of the students’ stay in the United States. Advertising, promotion, and materials are approximately 20% of the fee, with the remaining 40% used to cover office overhead and administration of the program in the United States. ERDT/enVision is a nonprofit educational foundation.
Can we send our own child to another country on an exchange program?
SHARE! does not have an outbound high school program. We do have an excellent volunteer program, called Volunteer Ventures, that provides people 18 and over with volunteer opportunities abroad. Contact us for more information about this program.
May we allow our student to travel on his / her own?
No. Your exchange student is not permitted to travel outside the local area by himself/herself or with peers. Overnight travel with the host family or Exchange Program Coordinator (EPC) is permitted. For travel with others or international travel, contact your Exchange Program Coordinator (EPC) to find out about specific requirements.
May our student arrive early on travel with us?
No. Travel before the program is not allowed. Participants are not allowed to travel on their own during their homestay experience either. Relatives or family friends may only visit in your home if you were informed of such a visit and agreed and approved to it. Check with your Exchange Program Coordinator (EPC) for more details.
Would it be acceptable to invite our change student to our place of worship?
Yes. Your exchange student should be invited to attend your place of worship. If your exchange student is of a different religion, but is interested in attending your church, temple, or synagogue to learn more about this aspect of our culture, they should be welcomed and encouraged. However, attendance of religious services should not be forced upon the student.
Is the host family the legal guardian or sponsor for the student?
No. ERDT/enVision is the legal sponsor for the student. As the legal sponsor, ERDT/SHARE! issues the supporting documents necessary for the participant to apply for exchange visitor visa to enter the United States. ERDT/enVision remains legally responsible for the student for the duration of the program. The Host Family does, however, have permission to obtain medical treatment from a licensed physician for the student when necessary. A medical release signed by the biological parents is included in the participant’s application.
Will our participant have insurance coverage?
Yes. He/She is covered with medical/accident insurance and will receive an insurance card. Emergency dental treatment is covered for relief of pain or when damage to the teeth is caused by an accident.
May our exchange student share a bedroom with one of our children?
Yes. Many enVision families do not have enough bedrooms in their home to accommodate an exchange student with a private bedroom. We require only that your student share a room with a child of the same gender and approximate age, be given his or her own bed, space for his or her belongings and a place to study.
Who pays for our exchange student’s expenses during the program?
All participants are required to bring or receive from home $200 – $300 per month to cover personal expenses, such as supplies, clothing, snacks outside of the home and entertainment, etc. Host families are expected to provide only room and board (meals) for the student.
Will our particpant abide by the rules of our home?
Yes. He/she is expected to behave as a member of your family and follow all of the rules and expectations of your household. The enVision Host Family Handbook contains information about communicating rules and regulations to your exchange student. You should be honest and open about your household rules. Remember, your participant is not merely a guest, but a new member of your family! enVision also has specific rules that students must follow, a copy of which can be found in your Host Family Handbook.
What will our exchange particpant expect?
The international participants who participate in the enVision Program expect to be treated as a member of your family. The international students are as diverse as the families who host them. Some are outgoing and gregarious; others are quiet and shy. Your exchange “son or daughter” will expect you to communicate with him/her about your values, and will also expect you to listen when he/she tells you about the way of life of his/her country.
Will we receive information about the hosting experience?
Yes. Your Exchange Program Coordinator (EPC) will visit you in your home to explain the hosting experience and to answer any questions that you may have. He/she will also provide you with a pre-arrival orientation and post-arrival orientation (depending on the length of program), where you will receive information and materials that provide more details about the intercultural experience of hosting. You’ll also receive a Host Family Handbook which contains information about insurance coverage, policies, rules and regulations.
What kind of support will we receive?
Your enVision Exchange Program Coordinator (EPC) has been trained to be sensitive to both the needs of the Host Family and the needs of your participant. Your Exchange Program Coordinator (EPC) will provide orientations and will monitor your experience to ensure that everything goes smoothly, and is available to answer questions and offer support. On the occasion when your Exchange Program Coordinator (EPC) might not be available, the enVision staff may be reached by phone or email. In the event of an emergency, please refer to your Host Family Handbook to contact the next enVision staff member.
How long is the enVision Short Term Program?
enVisions participants may live with a host family anywhere from 2 days up to 12 weeks.
Do host families receive compensation for hosting?
All enVision Host Families receive a modest stipend for hosting. By eliminating any monetary incentives for hosting, ERDT/enVision ensures that all motivation for hosting comes from the heart. The IRS allows each family to deduct $50.00 for each month that the participant lives with them. Participants bring their own spending money and are expected to pay for souvenirs and personal items.
What does it mean to be an enVision host family?
The most important qualities for any potential Host Family are a generosity of heart and spirit – that ability to make an outsider feel like a member of your own family. The desire to learn from others while conveying a very personal view of life in country is what it’s all about. Families headed by a single parent, or those without children at home are enthusiastically welcomed. The diversity that is our country’s heritage is something we hope to reflect in all our programs. enVision finds homes that generate warmth and friendliness while possessing a reasonable degree of stability, as the host family must provide room and meals for their student.
May I arrive in the U.S. early or stay after the program to travel?
Yes. however written permission from your home agent must be provided prior to your departure from your home country.
Can I request that I be placed near a friend or relative who lives in the U.S.?
No. To help ensure that your primary relationship in the U.S. is with your host family, we will not place you near a friend or relative who lives in the U.S.
May my family / friends / boyfriend / girlfriend come visit me in the U.S.?
No. Participants are not permitted to have visitors – or travel to meet up with family or family friends, or stay anywhere overnight. Participants may travel with family or family friends after the program with written permission from their home agent; however they may not return to the host family’s home.