Each and every year, Academic Year in America (AYA) announces the Host Family of the Year after its many international exchange students submit nominations for their host family! Many incredible families are nominated annually, and this year was no exception. The national winner has already been chosen, but we wanted to recognize a few runners up whose nominations also stood out as being exceptional.
Meet the DeBouver Family from Ohio, nominated by their exchange student, Emily from Germany.
Read on to learn why Emily loves her host family so much and wanted to nominate them for Host Family of the Year:
Why is my host family is the best? Because they are my family. I got to be a part of their crazy daily lives; celebrated American traditions, explored my city, went to church, and got to know their family.
My host family happily welcomed me. They introduced me to their church friends on my first day. From then on, they made me feel like they have been loving and caring about me. Homecoming was one of my highlights and I even got to attend two dances: my host sisters and mine. To prepare, we went dress shopping together and both found the “perfect fit”. For Halloween, we carved pumpkins. They planned a surprise birthday party for me. We spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with our family; made cookies, played games and gave and received annotations. For Christmas, we got to see the beautiful zoo lights in Columbus. Furthermore, we were blessed with a lot of snow, so we went on walks with the dogs. We were part of the Christmas play, as well as they, and many other people, prepared a Easter Cantata which was fun to watch. My host sister and I colored and hide a bunch of Easter eggs and when our family came, my little host cousin got to do the Easter egg hunt and hit a piñata. Also, we tried to escape the local escape room, but failed; still, we had a lot of fun.
During the school year, I competed in Volleyball, Basketball and Track. I was blessed with rides to many practices and games; and sometimes, my host family even came to watch me. I also got to take part in competitions; in “The Rotary Four Way Test Speech Contest” where my host mum and grandpa supported me and I got to teach others about the importance of learning a foreign language. Furthermore, my host grandpa assisted me with rides and motivation for the “FFA Advanced Creed Speaking Contest”. My school gave me the opportunity to take part in the senior trip to Chicago and I got my host family’s approval and trust right away.
I am very pleased, with all they have done for me; all the laughters we had and the challenges we overcame. I’ll never be able to express my thankfulness. I had a lot fun and got experience something so special, and defining. My host family opened new horizons to me full of opportunities; my English improved, I became more self confident and independent, and learned to appreciate all the little things.
I am beyond grateful that I got to spend this very important year with such an amazing, loving host family. I officially can call them my second family.
Want to learn more about the other Host Family of the Year winners?
- National Winner:The Hammond Family from Illinois, nominated by Milica from Montenegro
- Runner-Up: The Hart Family from Montana, nominated by Marie from Germany
- Runner-Up: The Wenslow Family from New York, nominated by Ludwig from Germany
- Runner-Up: The Gay Family from Wisconsin, nominated by Laura from Austria
You and your family could be next year’s Host Family of the Year! Open a high school international exchange student’s eyes to a whole new world by hosting with AYA.