Thursday, June 2, 2011

Academic Year in America

Two years ago, at about this time, Meezy and I decided to host a foreign exchange student for a semester.  We were looking to give someone an opportunity to experience our country, while also granting us the privilege of learning about their culture.  It was an incredible experience, and we made a life-long friend out of our student and her family.  (We visited her family in Germany last year, and she's coming back to the US for another visit later this year).  I know that we'll be a part of each other's lives for many years to come.

Hosting someone in your home for 6 or 12 months is not easy, but it's not daunting either.  There are minor inconveniences associated with it, especially if you've never had a child previously, but the benefits far outweighed them.  We loved introducing Kim to our families, taking her on trips, showing her some American culture, etc, etc.  It was an amazing 6 months, and we have hundreds of fun pictures to help us remember it.  

Some people thought it was odd that two 20 somethings with no children would want to host an exchange student, but it made perfect sense to us.  We had the time, money, space, and desire to devote to the experience, and it couldn't have been more perfect.  Other hosting families we met during the process consisted of families with teenagers, or retired couples.  I think an exchange student can fit into most home situations, because there are various advantages for each.  In other words, it doesn't matter if you're 25 years old or 55 years old.  It doesn't matter if you're single or married.  It doesn't matter if you have kids or not.  As long as you have the desire and willingness to share, you can make a good host!     

If you'd like to learn more about hosting, check out the AIFS website here.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  If you want to take the first step towards hosting, even if it's just to get more information, let me know and I'll refer you. It's never too late or early in the year to get started!  There are always kids looking for host families.


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