AYA host families are volunteers, sharing the rich and varied culture of the U.S. with international students from around the world. With the school year just underway, it’s a great time to look at some wonderful stories our host families have shared about the special moments they have had with AYA students. From arrivals to the start of school and more, our participants wrote about some surprising, challenging, fun and exciting times on their journeys together thus far.
Michelle, a host mom from Montana, wrote about welcoming Sarana from Thailand and Sumin from South Korea to her family. She shared:
One of the neatest aspects of having my boys here is that they have never seen the mountains and several of the animals we take for granted like deer. So, when we see the great views they get really excited and ask to stop and take pictures. It has allowed me to remember why it is that I love Montana so much and the little things that make this area amazing. It is refreshing seeing home from another person’s eyes.
Heidi, a host mom from Indiana, is celebrating family and friendship with Maitane from Spain. Heidi wrote:
Maitane is with us for the school year. She recently turned 16 and our daughter turns 16 on October 7. We had a joint Sweet 16 party for both of them this past Saturday with family and friends. Mai’s best friend from Spain is also an exchange student in Logansport, which is only two hours away from us. She was able to come to the party. and they were so happy to see and visit with each other. Here is a picture of Mai and our daughter Allison and their birthday cookies. 🍰🤤
Rex and Mary, host parents in Illinois, welcomed Gabriel from Brazil and Santi from Spain to their family. They shared:
We are hosting two boys this school year. Gabriel from Brazil and Santi from Spain. The boys are so very different, but they have become like brothers! We have had our share of ups and downs over the past 6 weeks, but we are finally starting to settle into a routine that works for all of us. This past weekend our boys played in their first soccer match here in America. They were on separate teams, and they both played their very best. Even when they were in head-to-head competition, they gave their all, but still you could see that unbreakable bond between them! I know they are only here for a short time, but I can’t imagine our life without them spending this year with us! Thank you AYA for bringing us together!
The Thomson family in Ohio is sharing fun times and family traditions with Ruihong from China:
We are the Thompson family from Ohio with Ruihong “Matt” from China. We took him to Chipotle for the first time. He got a burrito bowl and got the red hot mixture. Then he added tons more hot sauce from the bottle. He got up to get a refill of his drink, and he said, “whew too hot!” We were cracking up, and he was, too.
Below is a photo of Ruihong getting his haircut at the barber his host dad has been going to for over 23 years:
Diane, a host mom in Washington, welcomed Tabea from Germany to her family. Diane wrote a about getting involved at school and Tabea’s first impressions:
We went to Gig Harbor High School last night for a pot luck dinner. It was a dinner for the students in the school choir. Tabea just loves the school. She tells us that it is twice as big as her school in Germany. She is excited and impressed by the fact that the school has a gym, a pool, a large lunch room area, and lots of extracurricular activities. Her school in Germany has none of those benefits. It is fun to see her so excited about the school and all it has to offer.
Learn more about Academic Year in America and opportunities to host an international high school student in your home.