Lea from Germany and Giulia from Italy are two international students who spent their academic year in the Pacific Northwest with the Heath family along with their two dogs and two cats. Needless to say it was a full house for these two host sisters. Lea and Giulia shared with us their memorable experience living with their American host family in Oregon.
Lea: Many months ago I started my journey to the U.S. to a little town called Veneta in Oregon. This town is home to the Heath family and their two dogs, Koda and Sage and two cats, George Carlos and Jack. Before I arrived I remember getting my host family information and e-mail from my host mom, ‘Welcome to the Heath family’. I remember feeling so excited to hear from them!
Giulia: I’ll always remember the moment I arrived in the airport. I was greeted by the Heath’s with balloons and even a welcome sign! Shortly after my host sister, Lea arrived from Germany. From the beginning we all got along and we’re always joking with each other! I felt so lucky to have found such a perfect host family. It’s weird because I never thought it would have felt as natural as it did!
Lea: During my time in America we shared so many great moments together. I remember the first day Giulia and I arrived at the Heath’s and they showed us how to make s’mores. We had never heard of them before (and planned to teach everyone in Europe how to make them). That evening was the first one of many others where we sat together and talked about everything we could think of.
Giulia: The Heath’s were great and we did so many activities together as a family. It’s so hard to remember them all, but let’s start with a couple of them. They taught us as much as they could about the American culture from the simple things, like making s’mores and sharing stories. They even took us to different parts of the U.S. to see how diverse and unique each part is. Our first trip was to Disney World in Florida, then to San Francisco, Seattle, Huntington, Portland and even a trip to along the west coast! I couldn’t believe they loved travel as much as I do, and that’s almost an impossible thing!
Lea: Besides experiencing new things together as a family they supported us in everything that we did, even before we came here.
Giulia: Every day, since day one, we were creating the best memories. They came to every one of my softball games, Lea’s track meets and our powder-puff game. They helped us when we needed it most and always gave the best advice.
Lea: When I filled out the application to participate in the Academic Year in America exchange program I could not really believe that you could feel at home and a true part of a new family being so far away from home but the Heath’s showed me in just the first few days that you can really feel home no matter how far you are.
Giulia: Now that the exchange year is over and I look back at it, I realize I have a second home, a second family and new friends. My host family made this year one of the best years I have ever had. They are an amazing family and I hope all exchange students will have a family like mine.
Lea: This year has truly been the best year of my life and one that would have never been possible without the Heath family. During the time we spent together we became a family and they did an amazing job at teaching Giulia and I about the American culture. It’s a year I’ll never forget!
Danke & Grazie mille!
Lea & Giulia xo
Thanks Lea and Giulia for sharing your wonderful year you had with the Heath family in Oregon! Do you have a similar story to share about your host family? E-mail email@example.com with your story or share with us on Twitter or Facebook! We love hearing from our AYA students!