Alisha from Austria feels like she hit the jackpot with her host family in Illinois, which is why she felt they were the perfect nominees for our Host Family of the Year awards. Named a runner-up, the Nix Family gave her the exchange year experience of a lifetime. Learn more about her year in the Midwest and why she feels they are the the best host family ever:
My name is Alisha and I spent 8 months with my host parents Tracy and Jeff in Illinois. They are very caring, helpful, and they always go the extra mile to make me happy. I had a lot of special moments with them and those moments turned into golden memories. They took me camping at Rend Lake and hiking at Garden of the Gods. My host mom Tracy also planned on taking us to Chicago but unfortunately the trip was cancelled because of coronavirus. We also went on a few shopping trips to buy Homecoming and Prom dresses for me and my Italian host sister Sofia. They made every weekend special and always made sure we spent quality time together.
They taught me so much about America and they are the reason why I got to experience the American lifestyle in every possible way. They made all the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas very special. For Thanksgiving we made a trip to Missouri to visit my host mom’s side of the family. They were all so nice and very interested in us exchange students. We spent Christmas with some of my host parents’ family members and we had a really lovely time with them. We hung up lights and decorated the Christmas tree together. Christmas in the USA is something I will never forget.
Before I went to the USA I was very timid and shy. I gained so much confidence living with a different family and I matured a lot. They taught me so much and I will never forget how much they supported me in every situation and how I always had a smile on my face because of them. I wanted to tryout for the fall play but I was too scared to be in a play with strangers and I didn’t know a lot of people back then. Tracy and Jeff encouraged me so much during this time. They motivated me and gave me so much support. I ended up not trying out for the play because I didn’t feel like I was ready. But I did tryout for the spring play and I wouldn’t have managed to go into the auditorium to audition if Tracy, Jeff and Sofia didn’t encourage me the way they did. They believed in me more than I believed in myself and that is something I will be grateful for all my life. I tried out for the play and I made it.
I appreciate my second family because they made my exchange year a very special year and they always listen to me and give me the best advice. They are such generous people with warm hearts and I felt so welcomed on the day of my arrival and each day of my stay there.
I was heartbroken because I had to leave earlier than planned due to the virus. Saying goodbye was so hard. I couldn’t have asked for a better host family and they don’t only deserve the title “Best Host Family of the Year”, they deserve the title “Best Host Family ever.”