Sometimes life comes at you fast. It’s often the things we take a chance on that change our lives the most. Byron and his partner never anticipated hosting an exchange student, but taking a leap of faith and going for it has made an impact on them more than they ever could’ve imagined.
About five years ago a woman came up to me and changed my life. She asked, “Would you consider hosting a foreign exchange student?” She explained that there was a boy from Germany that had an interest in theatre and she was trying to find a unique placement for him. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring a teenager into their home on purpose?” but I went home and talked to my partner, and we ended up deciding to do it.
That was last year, and it was the greatest experience of my life. I felt as if our student, Luca, had always been a part of us. And he still is! We talk to him several times every week.
This year we are hosting a young man from Italy. He is charming, and the wonderful experience continues on.
Host families are volunteers and do this based on their desire to host a visiting student and are only required to provide a safe and comfortable home for a semester or a year, welcome the student as a member of the family, provide a bed and a place to study, provide meals except for school lunches, and provide positive cultural experience.
There is no typical host family.
In preparation, these kids must study English for [several] years, study American culture and maintain good grades. Additionally, the students must attend orientations about life in the United States, and the expectations of them as ambassadors.
In the end, all teenagers worry about similar things all over the world. The true lesson for all of us is that different does not mean bad.
We all need to expand our awareness of people around us. Programs such as the foreign exchange program aid us in making our own experiences and learning to expand our minds by sharing our homes and our hearts.
It is my goal to spread the word about the foreign exchange program and to find homes and families for these kids. It means so much to them and it is my way of contributing toward world peace. Please consider opening your homes and your hearts to this wonderful experience!
Are you interested in having a life-changing experience in the way Byron and his partner have? Host an exchange student with Academic Year in America!