Interested in hosting an exchange student, but not sure what the effects will be on you and/or your family?
Here are four things you can plan on happening if you host an international exchange student with Academic Year in America (AYA).
1. You’ll Learn About a Different Culture
By hosting an exchange student, you’ll experience a different culture firsthand.
AYA host dad, John, learned about Korean culture after hosting Ga-Won, an exchange student from South Korea.
“Often, she would teach us about her culture by cooking a traditional Korean meal or by teaching us her language,” John said. “Hosting is such a wonderful way to bring the world into your home.”
2. You Will Develop Lifelong Relationships
The familial bonds you develop with your exchange student can be permanent.
Melissa, a host mom from North Carolina, said that she gained a lifelong family member by hosting with AYA.
When Melissa’s exchange student, Sanna, left to return home, the goodbye was as difficult as saying goodbye to family. Sanna became a true member of Melissa’s family by the end of her exchange year.
3. Your Family Will Expand Across the Globe
Hosting with AYA gives you family all over the world.
Host families are often surprised by how much hosting changes their lives. Kelsey from Pennsylvania recently shared what it’s like to gain an international sibling after hosting Luisa from Germany.
“In ten months, a stranger became a sister,” Kelsey said. “I have a best friend in another country, and I got to travel there before I turned 20…I will always have family in Germany.”
4. You’ll Bring the World Closer Together
Want to make the world a better place? Hosting an exchange student is a great way to start. As a host family, you are taking steps towards greater global understanding.
Byron, an AYA host dad, realized that teenagers worry about similar things all over the world.
“The true lesson for us is that different does not mean bad,” Byron reflected. “[Hosting] is my way to contributing toward world peace.”