Foreigners Flock to S.B.

You may run into more people speaking different vernaculars downtown this summer. Education First (EF), the fairly inconspicuous international school located on Chapala Street, is expecting to double the size of its student population this summer. Though the petite school typically attracts more students during the summer months, this season it will see 1,400 students — 300 more than last summer — from 50 countries.

All students who attend the school live with host families anywhere from Winchester Canyon to Carpinteria, which is different from SBCC international students who find their own housing. “We’re constantly searching for families,” said Megan Murphy, EF’s housing director. Murphy places students in homes, and hosts receive a stipend — approximately $120 per week for two students. (Meals are included.) “We have a variety of families. A lot of them are empty nesters,” said Murphy. And hosts “don’t necessarily have to have kids or be married.”

During the summer, students stay for as short as two weeks or as long as 10 weeks. Most students are 19- to 20-year-olds, Murphy said, and students as young as 13 attend with classmates in the summer months. But not all the students are kids. “We just said good-bye to a 69-year-old man,” Murphy said.

There’s no shortage of activities for students to engage in, Murphy added, and students can fill their time with going to the beach, traveling across California, volunteering, or playing soccer at UCSB. Anything to “enjoy Santa Barbara and take in what’s here,” Murphy said. “We’re a constantly growing school. Even after summer, we’re always getting bigger or more popular.”

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