Bill and Denny McConnell are the owners of the award-winning 23rd Street Antique Mall which just celebrated its 22nd year in business in central Oklahoma City. The McConnells became familiar with the ELS (English Language School) Homestay Program at Oklahoma City University when a good friend at their church suggested they “just try homestay for one month.” Upon testing the waters, Bill and Denny were immediately hooked and have since found involvement in the Program to be a lasting blessing in their lives.
The McConnells have been an ELS Homestay Family for eleven years and have experienced first-hand the joy of meeting students who come to the United States to learn English. They have had well over 70 students live in their home from all over the world, including students from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Brazil, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Vietnam, Columbia, and Chile. Besides these, there are even more countries represented in the program.
Besides hosting students, Bill and Denny are also the Coordinators for the ELS Homestay Program, so it is their responsibility to find good homes for ELS students to live in. Over the past year or two, the ELS Program has increased enrollment dramatically and is in immediate need of homes to house new students.
Students who attend ELS prefer living in a home with an American family to help them learn the American culture and to practice learning English. In nearly every case, these students are gracious, kind, and appreciative.
Qualifying host families are compensated each 4-week session for each student (max 3) hosted in their home. The responsibilities of a homestay family include providing a private bedroom for each student, fourteen meals per week (breakfast and dinner daily), and transportation to and from ELS (which is located on the Oklahoma City University campus near NW 23rd and Penn). ELS consists of twelve four-week-long sessions. The average student stay is three to four sessions, but some students stay for the entire twelve-month program while others only come for one session.
ELS Homestay is a very rewarding program, and highly recommended! Participating families do more than just provide room and board; they act as American ambassadors. When students finally return to their homelands, it is the desire of all involved in the ELS program that they go back with good memories of the United States. Your student will enjoy taking part in everyday activities and just doing life with your family.
Please prayerfully consider the possibility of becoming a homestay family. Give it a try for one four-week session and see if you don’t just love it!
Bill and Denny can be contacted for questions or more information at homestayokc at gmail dot com.