In celebration of Father’s day yesterday, we want to celebrate all our wonderful AYA host dads! What makes our host dads so special is the bond they create with our exchange students, the effort they go to be there and the love they have for them.
Host dad, James from Arizona shares with us what an unforgettable experience he and his family had hosting Ben, an exchange student from China.
Ben has been an amazing addition to my family and friends. When he arrived in August he was a somewhat shy and reserved kid. Typical, right? But soon after, he opened up and became fully engaged with his exchange experience.
We had great times together attending sporting events (mostly NFL Games) and Ben embraced our local teams and got into all the excitement, being a “true fan”. We also took him on trips to show him different places and landmarks in the U.S., including Salt Lake City and San Diego.
We learned from the beginning that he was self-motivated and loved to contribute at home. He even enjoyed grocery shopping! He was also open to trying new things like cooking some egg drop soup! I have to say, it was delightful!
My friends think he is such a great young man and ask about him every day.
When I think back to our year together and all the memories we made, the moment he made me most proud, always stands out. That moment was when he decided to join the school soccer team. Ben never played organized soccer in China, but decided to give it a go. Lots of other kids dropped out for various reasons but he persevered and was chosen to be on the team. Initially, because of his inexperience he only played in the last few minutes of a game when they were well ahead. However, as the season progressed and his skills improved, he started the last 4 games of the season (as a defender) and played in 2 playoff games! The school finished third in their division. That’s really remarkable for someone new to the game and our country to step-up and stay with something new and different!
Ben is a terrific kid and he will go far in life. He has goals in place for his future that I know he will accomplish!
Happy Father’s Day James and all our AYA host dads!
Interested in becoming a host dad and creating unforgettable memories with an exchange student? Check out how to host this fall on our website! Are you a proud host dad? Share what it means to you to be an AYA host dad with us by leaving a comment below.