Media Advisory: Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem families host 45 students from around the world

Who: Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows (BFTF), funded by the U.S. Department of State and hosted by Wake Forest University, are European and American students who participate in host family stays, classes, workshops, and volunteer in the community. After hosting two Fellows last summer, Daniel and Brandy Vandergriff were eager to participate in the 2013 BFTF program and wanted to be the first family to sign-up.

“I heard it was advantageous to have kids similar in age to the students, but I love having Fellows in our home with my young kids because they are exposed to other cultures. In Winston-Salem, it doesn’t happen that you’re at Starbucks hearing different languages and seeing other cultures. My kids’ worldview has been broadened at a young age by having Fellows in our home. I’ve gotten to teach my kids that someone’s culture is not right or wrong, just different,” said Brandy Vandergriff.

What: More than 45 students from 30 countries in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Eurasia and the U.S. stay with host families for 10 days. Fellows get an up-close American experience, but as the Vandergriff’s explain, their experience has also been invaluable.

“We’ve spent hours talking with the Fellows about a host of things; primarily, women’s role in the world, in their country and how it compares to the U.S. These are amazing kids, and we really are their surrogate parents. They confide in us. They share their fears and experiences here. All these conversations have been truly priceless,” said Vandergriff.

When: Media are invited to a Farewell Dinner for the Fellows and host families at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24.

Where: The Magnolia Room in Reynolda Hall on Wake Forest’s campus. Contact the Wake Forest News Office for information on scheduled activities. Ron Von Burg, BFTF Program Director, will also be available for comment.


About Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University’s graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich our intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at


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