Every academic year, we are thrilled to share the Academic Year in America (AYA) Host Family of the Year! Many wonderful host families are nominated each year by their international exchange students, and this year was no exception. While the national winner has already been selected, we wanted to recognize a few runners up, whose nominations also stood out as being exceptional.
Say hello to the Wenslow Family from New York, nominated by their exchange student, Ludwig from Germany.
We encourage you to read Ludwig’s heartfelt nomination and why he is appreciative of his host family:
Within the following letter I would like to tell you why the Wenslow family deserves it to be called host family of the year.
But let me begin early. Before I first got here I always thought that a host family couldn’t be more than just a nice American family that I will live with. I thought there would be only one real family for me and that would be my German one. But let me tell you, my opinion obviously changed a lot.
It already started when I first got the contact information of my family and we first started writing. I already got very good along with my family before I even got here. It was normal for me to text my new host parents daily and we also face timed a lot. But the journey really began when I first got here.
I quickly realized that these people a truly amazing. I remember how I never really had the feeling of living as a guest in a household. From the first day on I was an honest member of the family. I was as much grandchild of my new grandmother as I was big brother of Christian and my sister Rilea. And I felt like a real son of my host parents.
I think that my host family should be the host family of the year because they are more than just a host family. In my opinion there are a real family for me. Everybody can rely on everybody in the family and my host parents even set their own interests behind mine and my siblings.
I learned so many things from my family it is difficult to write it down. With my Dad Richard I can talk about everything. I can talk with him about historical events up to the craziest topics and I can for sure rely on his support, wisdom and opinion if I need help. My mother Wendy is a great mother as well. She and my natural mom are very much alike and I think that is very funny. Both of them support me and help me in whatever situation I need their support. And I can for sure laugh with them a lot. And I feel like I know my Sister Kirsten already for years. We joke around a lot, but I can still rely on her support and I think she can also rely on me. Christian and Rilea are my little host brother and sister. I love both them in some crazy way like there are my real little siblings.
I gained from living with this family memories that I will never forget. Memories like our trip to Bar Harbor, Maine. When I bet with my host dad if I could swim in the freezing ocean for ten minutes. And guess what? I swam in it for eleven minutes. Or how we all went together to Washington D.C. We saw famous sights like the White House, or the Lincoln Memorial and we even went to the FBI Headquarters. We also went to Virginia and Ohio. All these trips brought me memories that I will never forget. And a ridiculous strong bond with my great American family.
This family made my dream of living in the USA become reality. The showed me every perspective of the country they could. This family is the biggest reason why my exchange is such a big success and why I never experienced anything like homesickness. My old understanding of a host family changed because of these people. My American family aren’t just people I live with. These people are a new family for me. A family for life.
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 DeBouver Family from Ohio, nominated by Emily 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.