Hoping to make this the best year yet? Hosting an exchange student with Academic Year in America (AYA) is a great way to do just that.
Every year, our many experiences teach us valuable lessons. If we’re lucky, some of those lessons improve our lives for years to come. When you host a foreign exchange student, the lessons you learn will be transformative – and could even help make the world a better place.
Here are 5 life-changing lessons you’ll learn from hosting an exchange student:
1. Differences are wonderful.
Cultural exchange programs like AYA are all about celebrating differences, not fearing them.
At first glance, the thought of familiarizing yourself with other traditions, beliefs, languages, or interests that are totally different than your own might be intimidating. Once you host an exchange student though, you’ll realize that cultural differences are nothing to be afraid of – but rather something to be excited about.
As your exchange student becomes a member of your family, you’ll come to realize how wonderful differences are, both to learn about and to experience firsthand.
2. Stereotypes are not always true.
Hosting an exchange student will prove that not everything you hear about another culture is accurate. In fact, many stereotypes are totally untrue.
Without experiencing a culture for yourself, it’s easy to fall into the stereotype trap. When you welcome an exchange student into your home, you’ll watch stereotypes disprove themselves before your eyes. Instead, you’ll discover all of the awesome pieces of that student’s culture that deserve way more publicity.
3. Strangers can become family.
When you host an exchange student, you’ll shift from total strangers to international family members in a short period of time. Even after the exchange semester or year ends, our host families and exchange students maintain close relationships from across the world.
Former host mom, Melissa, recently reflected on her relationship with exchange student and international daughter, Sanna from Germany.
“Host families and Local Coordinators have told me before that the best part of hosting is the lifelong relationships built,” Melissa said after Sanna returned for a visit. “Until you experience it you will not understand the truth of that statement.”
4. The world is actually pretty small.
By showing you how much you have in common with people across the globe, your hosting experience will make the world feel a whole lot smaller.
Our exchange students come to the United States from more than 60 countries. By hosting, you’ll realize that there are so many commonalities that you share with people everywhere. With those commonalities in mind, you’ll see the world through a more familiar lens.
5. The world is filled with so much good.
After hosting an exchange student teaches you all of the above, you’ll learn perhaps the most important lesson of all; that the world is filled with so much good.
When you see how wonderful differences are, how untrue stereotypes are, and how much you have in common with people from different countries, you’ll discover just how much good the world has inside of it.
By hosting an exchange student, you’ll gain a life-changing, optimistic outlook on our world. It will leave you focusing on the good – and spending less time focusing on the bad.
See why the world is filled with so much good for yourself – Learn more about hosting an exchange student this year with Academic Year in America (AYA).