Each year, AYA exchange students and Local Coordinators across the United States send in their nominations in hopes that their beloved host family will be named our Host Family of the Year — and 2021 is no exception! We are always so moved to read about the bonds made through our program and the long-lasting effect these people-to-people cultural exchanges will have — particularly this year, when COVID-19 made such an impact on our interpersonal connections.
Without further ado, meet our Host Family of the Year for 2021: the Solis Family from Texas!
The Solis Family hosted two exchange students this year, Heloise from France and Chiara from Italy. Read on to hear the heartfelt sentiments shared by Chiara:
I’m Chiara, a semester student from Italy.
I spent my five months with the Solis family and I wouldn’t have changed anything.
Sitting in the airport right know makes me understand how lucky I was to be placed with them: they made me feel at home from the first second I arrived, when they came pick me up at midnight on January 10th, to the last moment, when they’ve waved at the until I passed the security.
I’ll forever remember all the great advices my host mom gave me, all the talks, all the support she gave me when I was feeling down. She knows so much of every single thing, she’s always ready for us, she’s a mom, a sister, a friend. She’s funny and she always always understands.
I wouldn’t call my host dad a host dad, to me he was like my real dad. We had the best jokes, he had the best stories, he is just an amazing person. He’s great with the kids and also with students. I’ll never forget that time he helped me taking a decision in the car just by listening to me and making me feel mature enough to take that decision on my own.
Liam and Elaina were just great: we’ve played so many games together, talked so much, Liam was my first friend, even if he’s only three.
They helped me grow up in just five months, they took me to see places, took me to eat different things every day just to let me try everything. They wanted me to be independent and mature enough to go through my exchange at the best and be happy. I was not easy, at the beginning I felt very homesick, but they made me feel at home. I’ll forever remember Texas, but the reality is that without them my year wouldn’t have been the same at all.
So thank you Solis family for taking me and let me experience the best that Texas has to offer.