Language Ambassadors Enrich The Learning Experience At LILA

Language ambassadors are a vital part of our program at LILA. They are interns from Spanish- and Chinese-speaking countries who assist our teachers in the classroom and provide language and culture models for our students. They work with individual students and small groups or supervise activities of the large group, allowing the teacher to give more attention to students who need more help or more challenge.

Having ambassadors in the classrooms also gives students the opportunity to hear authentic target-language conversation between the ambassador and the teacher, rather than only between learners or between the teacher and students. It's a proven program for enhancing the educational experiences of LILA students and staff, the host families, and the language ambassadors.

Submit an application to host a language ambassador today! Host families are needed now.

Who Are Language Ambassadors?

Language ambassadors bring their own languages and cultures to life by engaging and motivating students, leaving them with new confidence in their ability to communicate across borders. They are considered teaching assistants and help maintain a low student to teacher ratio at LILA. They are single, native Spanish- or Chinese-speaking adults between the ages of 20 and 30.

What Are Host Family Roles And Responsibilities?

Host families come in all shapes and sizes and serve as a language ambassador’s substitute family for half the school year. They provide room and board (a private bedroom, shared bathroom, and meals). Host families are not required to cover any other expenses (ambassadors bring their own spending money). Host families do their best to provide care, moral support, and basic needs to a language ambassador as if he or she were a member of the family. Host families provide transportation to and from LILA (transportation assistance can sometimes be arranged).

Host families receive a $1,000 stipend at the end of their hosting period. We recognize that this stipend will not cover all costs incurred by families in the course of hosting for five months, but we hope that it defrays the cost enough so that more families can participate in hosting.

How Our Program Works

Language ambassadors live with host families from Lakes International for a part of the school year. Any Lakes International family can share a social, cultural, or family event with the language ambassadors. For example, you may take them to sports events, museums, day-trips in the area, share a family meal, etc.

The Language Ambassadors Program at LILA is supported and funded by the Lakes International PTO, which is funded by parents.

Submit an application to host a language ambassador today! Host families are needed for half year committments. We need FALL families now.

2016-17 Language Ambassadors


Santiago Garcia Paniagua (Santi) is from Ágreda, Spain. He is 22 years old and his family includes his father, mother, and two little sisters. He speaks some French, in addition to English. He played soccer on the local team since he was five years old and he would like to play soccer in Minnesota, too. Santi likes walking in nature, listening to music, traveling, and discovering new places. He has been to Ireland, Holland, and France. He’s never been to the U.S. before, but he loves new experiences and looks forward to learning other cultures and traditions. He prefers an exciting family that can show him what the area has to offer. While Santi is allergic to cats and cannot live with them, he loves dogs and welcomes the chance to have one in his host family.


Blanca Iglesias is 23 years old and from Madrid, Spain. She grew up in Seville with her large family – her retired parents and five brothers. Blanca studied a primary teaching degree and loves kids. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and making plans, including trips to the cinema, music, traveling, and playing sports. Blanca is Catholic and wants to attend church on a weekly basis, as it is very important to her. She will try to give the best of herself at all times. Blanca is looking for both an exciting family but also one that values the quiet and calm.


Alberto Barrera is 23 years old and lives in Móstoles, about twenty kilometers from Madrid, Spain. His family consists of his parents, who live with him, and his sister. She has her own family and lives with her husband and her two children. Alberto enjoys being active in sports, especially cycling. He loves animals but can’t own any due to lack of space. Alberto is looking for an exciting family that will help him learn about the American culture.


Katya (Anabella) Romero Martinez is 21 years old and from El Salvador. She lives with her parents, and her two siblings—a sister still in high school and a brother studying for a bachelor’s degree in English. Anabella enjoys listening to music, traveling (she’s been to Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua), spending time with family and friends, going to the cinema, meeting new people and places, and learning new cultures and traditions. She also enjoys sports, especially softball and swimming. This will be her first time in the U.S., and she is very excited and willing to try many new things!


Natalia Barrera is from Bogota, Colombia. She is 23 years old and her family includes her mother, father, and one younger sister. She speaks English, Spanish (her native language), and some French. She loves dancing and sports. Natalia also enjoys traveling and is really excited to see what Minnesota and the U.S. have to offer. She is very energetic, and enjoys making people laugh. Natalia has pet allergies so her host family will not be able to have cats or dogs.


Allison (Aly) Marcell Palacios Rivera is 21 years old and from El Salvador. Her family includes her father, her mother, and one brother. She is an ESL teacher, but knows a little French. In school she enjoyed soccer, handball, volleyball, and her favorite sport, basketball. Aly likes to listen to music, sing, draw, paint, and travel. She has been to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, but never to the U.S. Aly has never had any pets so she would prefer a home without them. She is Christian and hopes to attend church at least once a week. She is very excited about trying as many new things as possible and looking forward to the chance to experience Minnesota!


YingXin Lin is 26 years old and grew up in Taichung City, Taiwan. Her family includes her parents, a younger sister, and two cats. She likes sports and played on the women’s basketball team in college. She enjoys jogging, hiking, and riding bikes with friends. YingXin loves animals and sometimes volunteers to work with them. She is an open-mined person and likes to try new things. She believes that the most valuable part of staying with a host family is to experience the different culture. YingXin would like to share her own culture by cooking for her host family.


Rebeca Blanco Millas is 22 years old and from Aranjuez, a city located about 50 km south of Madrid. She recently finished her degree in Primary Education. Rebeca lives in a flat with her mother, father, younger sister, and her grandmother. She likes to spend time with her family and friends going shopping, traveling, playing sports, participating in cultural activities, and going to concerts or theater. Rebeca is very active and is enjoys being on-the-go! She is Christian and would like to attend church on a regular basis. She also is very afraid of dogs, so she requires a host family without any.


 Silvia Vilas Prat is part of a very active family from Valladolid, Spain. Her family consists of her parents and four siblings. Together they do things like camp, go to the beach, watch and photograph wild animals, and travel. She has Swedish family so many summers have been spent visiting Sweden. Silvia enjoys the outdoors and swims frequently. Silvia is eager to participate and learn about the winter activities that Minnesota has to offer. She loves animals and she welcomes the chance to have a pet.


Coral Garcia Mateos is 23 years old and from Colmenar Viejo, Spain. Her family consists of her parents and one sister. She enjoys being active, spending time with her family and friends, going to the beach, shopping, and traveling. Coral is looking forward to this unforgettable experience in the U.S. and hopes to teach her host family about her culture. She also is excited to improve her English. She is afraid of dogs and cats, so Coral needs a host family without any.


Stewin Bernal is 23 years old and from Barranquilla, Colombia. He lives with his dad, stepmother, and two siblings. He loves learning and teaching languages so he is studying bilingual education to teach either Spanish or English. He also knows some Portuguese. His family likes to spend time together, go to the movies, and have BBQs on Sundays when everyone is home. He likes to swim. Stewin is a huge fan of Steve Jobs because of his world-changing insights and products. He likes to travel to meet new people and see new places. It’s very important to him to feel like a member of his host family.


Julian (Juli) Fandiño is 25 years old and has lived most of his life in Bogotá. He lives with his mother, two younger brothers, and one younger sister. His father lives in Venezuela. Juli loves kids and studied English and Spanish to work as a teacher in Bogota. He absolutely loves dogs and has a Cocker Spaniel named Ramona. Juli is allergic to cats. He enjoys listening to music, reading, and being active, especially cycling. Juli also enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and making plans with family and friends, including trips to the cinema, theatre, traveling, and concerts. He is Christian and would like to attend church on a weekly basis. This is Juli’s first trip to the U.S. and he is eager to see many great places. He is looking forward to sharing his culture, too. His favorite food is homemade hamburgers and french fries!

Jialin Zhou

Jialin Zhou (Rebecca) is 21 years old and from China. She is an only child that lives with her mother and grandparents. She speaks Chinese, English, and a little French, but only some basic words. She has played the traditional Chinese instrument, Pipa for nine years. She also has practiced the traditional Chinese skill, Calligraphy for ten years. Jialin likes listening to music, traveling, and looks forward to learning about other cultures. She likes dogs but is not a fan of reptiles. She welcomes the chance to be a part of the family and have them help her learn about the American culture.

Wang Chunguang

Wang Chunguang (Don) is 23 years old and a post-graduate student from Zhokou, China that studies in Beijing.  His family consists of his parents, two sisters, and their dogs.  He enjoys Kung Fu, American Pop music, and Game of Thrones.  Don can play the ukulele, and loves running and free-line skating.  He is ready to embrace American culture and share his Chinese culture with his host family.

Di Want

Di Wang (Dee) is an active 25 year old from Hubei province, China. She has a lovely family including her parents and younger brother. She just finished her master degree in Teaching Chinese to non-native speakers.  Dee enjoys traveling, hiking, and trying new things. She especially enjoys basketball. She would like to try skating, skiing, and cycling in Minnesota. Di Wang would like to be involved in an exciting host family, join them in their activities, and share different cultures with them.


JiangSuo (Kristina) is from JiLin China. She is 22 years old and her family includes her parents and her little sister. She speaks English and Chinese. She likes walking in nature, camping, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends. She loves new experiences and looks forward to learning about new cultures in the US. JiangSuo has pet allergies so her host family will not able to have dogs or cats. She looks forward to an exciting family, but also values quiet and calm.

Xu Yue

Xu Yue (Cindy) is an active 22-year-old from China. She grew up in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province with her family, consisting of her parents, grandmother, and a younger brother. Currently, she is working on her Masters Degree in teaching Chinese in Shanghai. Cindy is very excited to have the opportunity to be at LILA. She likes reading, traveling and learning languages. She also wants to experience sports in Minnesota. Since it’s her first time going abroad, she’s looking forward to being exposed to American culture. Cindy is Christian and would like to attend church on a regular basis, if possible.

Haocheng Chen

Haocheng Chen is a 21 year old male that lives with his parents in China.  He enjoys reading history books, watching American movies, and traveling. Haocheng Chen speaks Chinese, English, and a little Japanese.  He loves animals and is fine with living with pets.  Haocheng Chen is very excited to learn about the American culture and to teach about the Chinese culture and history.


WangYing (Mathilda) is 21 years old and from China. She lives with her parents, an older sister, a younger brother, and her two pet dogs. Mathilda enjoys sports such as badminton, jogging, hiking, and riding bikes. She also played volleyball while in college. Mathilda loves children and spent her Saturdays volunteering at the Child Welfare Office in her home. She is looking forward to an exciting family but one that also enjoys the quiet time for reading and movies.

More Language Ambassador bios coming soon!

Submit an application to host a language ambassador today! Host families are needed now.