What started as a tribute to her father-in-law 20 years ago has become a tradition for Nancy Brown and her husband, Norm.
The Browns have hosted foreign exchange students, mostly boys from Germany, for the past 19 years.
Applying to be a host family is an easy online process, said Brown. After your application is received by ASSE USA International Student Exchange Program, a representative from the organization conducts a site visit to ensure the host family and housing are suitable for an exchange student.
A host family needs only to provide housing and food for the student, said Brown.
Students provide their own airfare and medical insurance, and they are not permitted to drive during their time in the United States, she said.
“Most students are placed in the Midwest,” said Brown, who added that the east and west coasts don’t seem as welcoming to exchange students.
Students are in residence in Nebraska City from August to May, said Brown, and they receive a certificate of completion from Nebraska City Public Schools at the end of their school year.
Brown said the Nebraska City community and the Nebraska City Public Schools have been very welcoming to the students she and her husband have hosted.
Yannis Dahlmann, who lived with the Browns for the 2010-2011 school year, gave his impressions of the foreign exchange program during Wednesday’s meeting.
Dahlmann, who is studying to be an English and history teacher, said he’s returned to America to visit regularly since he returned to Germany in 2011.
“The world is connected through exchange,” he said. “There’s way  more than connects us than divides us.”
Dahlmann said he chose to take part in the exchange program after two of his older brothers visited the United States.
During his current visit to America, he spent time with the Minnesota family who hosted one of his brothers on exchange.
Dahlmann said about 6,000 German students participate in U.S. exchange programs each year, but American students seem reluctant to travel abroad.
“In Europe, it’s a big thing,” he said. “Europeans spend lots of time abroad.”
For more information on student exchange programs, visit www.host. asse.com.
The Nebraska City Rotary Club meets at noon Wednesdays at the Eagles Club, 600 1st Corso. Guests pay $9 for lunch.