NACEL Open Door connects Cape Fear families with international students


LELAND, NC (WWAY) — NACEL Open Door is an exchange student program that connects American host families with international students.

“NACEL is program where students and families can get matched together so that students can come to the United States and have an experience,” said NACEL Open Door Representative Melissa Beattie.

In the last 10 years, Beattie and her husband have hosted four international students.

“I have helped coordinate four students who are here in the area,” Beattie said.

She said she had a great foreign student exchange experience herself years ago in France and that’s what drives her to help other students find host homes.

“Its just been an amazing experience building relationships with these students from other countries,” Beattie said.

Ines Monzon Vela is a foreign exchange student from Spain who has been in the Wilmington area since August 2018.

A few weeks after her arrival, Hurricane Florence struck the region causing widespread devastation. Vela has also volunteered helping with clean-up efforts.

“We helped with my church and then with the other exchange students we helped at one house because they needed help,” she said.

Vela says another advantage of being part of a foreign exchange program is that it allows you to travel around the world and meet new people.

If you have considered hosting a foreign exchange student, Beattie offers this encouragement.

“Reach out to me, reach out to NACELOpenDoor.org for an opportunity to speak with other parents who have hosted students to see what an amazing experience it is because its not just about that 10 months, its about the relationship you build with these students for a lifetime,” Beattie said.

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