ECHS is a family business. The seed was first planted over three decades ago when Laurel was an ESL teacher providing supplemental tutoring to students attending traditional ESL classes in local language schools. As a private tutor she was in the position to get to know each student personally and often found herself listening to them as they shared their frustrations with their American experience.
The number one frustration that they shared was: "I never get to meet any Americans! You are the only American I talk to!"
The number two frustration was that students found themselves only speaking English in the classroom. After class students would divide into social groups according to their countries of origin, where they would speak their native language.
Furthermore students were frustrated because the only person in their class who spoke perfect English was their teacher. Therefore the time that they spent listening to proper English was sometimes minimal. Furthermore when they spoke, no one corrected their pronunciation. Lastly, students who were either older or younger than the norm found themselves feeling out of place among their classmates.
The above realizations led us to search for a better way to learn English, make friends with Americans, and learn about our culture. The idea for a teacher's homestay program is not new, but over the years we have refined the basic idea to make the experience the most useful to our students and satisfying for our host families.
MEET THE STAFF
Alan Ailie, Finance and management: He's our numbers guy, and keeps us all accountable. In his free time he enjoys sporting events, listening to classical rock and roll, oil painting and traveling.
Laurel Ailie, Founder: Often found answering e-mails in her favorite coffee shop, latte in hand. In her free time she enjoys walking the dogs, art shows, gardening, visiting with family and socializing with friends.
Mizuho Harnetiaux, Public relations and Bookings Coordinator: Born in Japan, but has lived in America for over 10 years. She and her husband have a baby boy. Her hobbies include jogging, traveling and family events.
Sisley Sze Man Leung, Support Staff and Book-keeper: Born in Hong Kong, China, a recent UW graduate. Her hobbies include reading, watching movies and family activities.
Aki Day, Booking support: Born in Japan, married with 2 lovely girls. A resident of Washington for over 15 years, Aki enjoys discovering new cultural experiences around the Pacific Northwest. In her free time Aki enjoyshiking, knitting, and cooking.