Study in the USA

Foreign students are welcomed in Ohio

Nearly 100 foreign exchange students have Cindy Marcou and her late husband Mike Marcou to thank for helping them experience American culture by attending schools in Greater Cincinnati. Cindy Marcou, 58, of Springfield Township works as an international exchange coordinator for EF Foundation for Foreign Study, a Cambridge, Mass.-based nonprofit that places international high school students in the United States. Marcou is retiring in June after doing the part-time job since 2000 in which she finds host families for foreign students who go to area high schools. The foundation gave her a lifetime achievement award in January at its national convention at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. “It’s been a wonderful adventure full of opportunities and to be honored that way was just very humbling,” she said.

The Marcous hosted their first German student in 2000 before becoming international exchange coordinators. They have placed 96 students at nine high schools in Southwest Ohio: Winton Woods, Finneytown, Fairfield, Clermont Northeastern, Mother of Mercy, Roger Bacon, Northwest, Wyoming and Walnut Hills. In addition to the 96, the Marcous had 14 students live in their home. “Cindy has taken the awareness of student exchange in her area to a whole new level and her dedication to our mission is quite admirable,” EF President Dan Sodervall said. Marcou also works as a district nurse with the Winton Woods City School District.


What have you learned by placing and hosting foreign exchange students?

ANSWER: I grew up in a small-town environment in Adams County, Ohio, so it really opened my mind to learning about new customs and cultures. It helped me to see the world from different eyes.

Q: What makes a good host family for a foreign exchange student?

A: Someone who’s willing to open their heart and their home to a teenager from a different country and to have an open mind to learn the differences and the similarities in our cultures....

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