The impact a host family can make on an international high school student is immense. German exchange student Laura’s experience in Oregon was unparalleled thanks to the incredible family who welcomed her into their hearts and home. It was a spontaneous decision for them, according to Laura — and seemingly, one of the best they ever made.
Read on to learn more from Laura about her year as a German exchange student with her host family in the Pacific Northwest.
“I have two host brothers that are both older than I am but they include me in simply everything. The best conversations are happening with those two and there is no time where I don’t have to good laugh when I’m around them. Both drive me around and to places super often, one of them is even getting up earlier than he would have to just to bring me to school! The other one has random karaoke sessions in the car with me when a good song is coming up and he even left his room and they share a room for a year just so that I have a place! They took me up in the mountains 12 times and taught me how to snowboard and showed me one of my favorite hobbies that I have now. I never feel left out with them and they just really showed me the real culture here, while still having interest in my country and even provided me with everything for all the spirit days.
With my host mom I found another soulmate. We both love traveling and now even plan to take a trip to a foreign country together at one point. She always takes care of my wellbeing, no matter how exhausting her day was, there is always a smile left for me and an open ear. She made it possible for me to be here by giving a spontaneous ‘yes sure’ when AYA was still looking for a family a day before the deadline. With trips to various places like San Francisco, the whole coastline, over the border to Washington and several places in Oregon, she just made my year. She even made it possible to get me with them to Hawaii to 1 ½ weeks of sunshine and adventures that I could never imagine. She wants me to experience everything possible and even got me a beautiful corsage for prom for a wonderful memory.
My host sister doesn’t live here anymore but still takes me to some places. From shopping tours to DIY days to escape room, everything.
My host dad has an incredible humor. Hating Siri on his phone doesn’t hold him back on using it, but I don’t think he ever got what he was really looking for. With all his projects, like building his own garage, he still finds time for family and always has great stories from his young days.
Not to forget the four dogs and the two cats that all have their own character and just love me like I’ve been here for my whole life.
There are way more things that I could write about my family. I never imagined to have such a great year here and honestly think that I got the best host family existing! There is nothing that they couldn’t make possible and I really had the time of my life, the best year in my young life so far. I’m so grateful for everything, I don’t even know how to show them how much I appreciate everything they did for me and just hope they see themselves as the incredible family as they are.
I look forward in showing them around where I life when they visit me only weeks after I have to leave, finally showing them in person where my stories were happening. I am a 100% sure that I will return [to the United States] and they will welcome me back home with open arms, even if I decide to go to college here, which they already offered. […] They truly are [the coolest] and at least in my heart, nobody can change that — they are just the best and most incredible host family ever existing!
[…] I want to thank every single host family for hosting all of us and making our dream come true. It is truly impressive work what they’ve done for a stranger. And also, it is unbelievable how much the AYA staff and all the partner organizations did for all the many different young strangers from all around the globe! A big thank you!”
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