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International relations in The Parkland

Lisa Yeager and Holly Linter visiting Yeager’s exchange student “daughters” and their father in their home country — Thailand.

Southeast Missouri mom-daughter duo seek to place visiting students in local homes for the school year

Jeannie Barton-Northrup,

Lisa Yeager and Holly Lintner are a mother-daughter team passionate about education and making dreams come true through international relationships. Yeager and Linter are seeking hosts in the Mineral Area willing to allow international high school students to stay with them in the United States.

The program is simply an exchange student program. Yeager says about 100 kids from Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Thailand, Slovakia, France, and Mexico still need placement throughout the United States before school starts in August.

According to Yeager, the duties of a host are to provide a safe environment, a bedroom with a bed, a place for the student to study, transportation coordination, and meals. The students must speak a communicable level of English and receive a monthly spending allowance. Anyone interested in hosting can call Yeager at 573-718-5334 or Lintner at 573-200-4073, or email Lintner at

The mother-daughter duo work as area representatives for the Pan Atlantic Foundation, a not-for-profit organization.

Yeager lives and works in the Poplar Bluff area, and Lintner is in Jackson. Each covers a 120-mile student exchange area, and both are eager to get students into the Mineral Area.

“I want to give kids from other countries an opportunity to live their American dream,” said Yeager. She is passionate about the program for the local community also, “[Hosting] gives the community an opportunity to experience other cultures.”

Yeager says she started working with exchange students in 1990 as a host and then as an area representative. Because Yeager is Lintner’s mom, Lintner grew up with exchange students and said she had positive experiences. As an adult, Lintner also became a host and area representative.

Lintner says that many people in the United States never have the opportunity to travel outside of the United States.

“Hosting brings the world to your door,” she said, adding that the hosting program brings a different perspective into a community and helps broaden points of view.

Another aspect of the exchange program for which Lintner advocates is ambassadorship. Lintner says the idea of the exchange program is that “diplomacy is better than war. Bridging gaps creates less misunderstanding.”

There are two grant programs established by the U.S. government specifically designed for ambassadorship. These programs are designed to decrease negative relationships between the U.S. and countries with which the U.S. has had a conflict.

Both grants are awarded through highly competitive, merit-based testing. There are currently two students who were awarded the grant who need host families — Nazim and Raj.

Nazim is a 17-year-old boy from Azerbaijan. He says he is interested in technology and has been taking online classes to learn more about coding. Nazim says he enjoys trying new things and playing basketball. Nazim’s profile says he also enjoys volunteering; it’s a great way to give back to the community and help others. In the U.S., Nazim thinks he would like to explore many new activities, such as hiking and surfing, and visit new places.

Raj is a 15-year-old boy in the 10th grade from Bangladesh. He claims his favorite subjects are physics and math and that he is generally good with academics.

Besides studies, Raj says he is really into arts and crafts, especially drawing and painting. According to his profile, Raj also likes sports and enjoys playing soccer, cricket, and basketball.

Raj contemplates his future and says he would like to study physics and computer science. He says the exchange program is a great opportunity for him, and he hopes to learn a lot about the U.S. and its culture while introducing his culture to his host community.

A third student who needs a host family is Noe Berhelot. Yeager says his sister was a prior exchange student, and they are a wonderful family.

Berhelot is 16 and hails from France. Berhelot wants his host family to know he is very curious, sporty, sociable, honest, helpful, and kind. He says he likes to take the initiative and is a mature boy because he sometimes has to babysit his little sister at home. Berhelot says he also enjoys sharing his knowledge with others.

Berhelot says his interests lie in sports, especially kayaking and reading adventure novels — because it makes him “travel” and live adventures from the comfort of his cozy bed.

Anyone interested in hosting can call Yeager at 573-718-5334 or Lintner at 573-200-4073, or email Lintner at

Lisa Yeager and Holly Linter organize trips for exchange students in their area. This trip was to the Missouri Capitol building and students got to meet Jay Ashcroft.

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