Our host families come from all walks of life, from all across the U.S. What AYA host families have in common is their interest in welcoming an international student into their homes like a member of the family. Host families enjoy cultural exchange and providing opportunities for great students from around the world to live and interact in their local communities.
Ben, a host parent from Iowa shares the following about what motivated he and his wife to host an AYA exchange student from Brazil. His words provide beautiful explanation and personal insight into why they made this important decision.
Why We’re Hosting
My wife and I have decided to host a foreign exchange student from Brazil for a semester. We had talked before about wanting to host, but we always thought it would be someday — when our kids are older, when we have more money, more time, etc.
We’re very busy taking care of our two children under age four, and we’re a one income family. We weren’t sure if we were “ready” to take in an exchange student for a whole semester. But we decided to go for it, and here’s why.
I know how important the exchange student experience can be. Sixteen years ago, as a high school junior, I met a young man from Germany named Fabrice. He was an exchange student at my school. Fabrice and I went on to become lifelong friends and later visited each other; I went to Europe, and he came to visit with us in Iowa.
During my travels in Europe and while living in Japan teaching English, so many people opened their homes to me. I am sorry to say that I cannot even remember the names of all the people who have shown me such wonderful hospitality, but all of them in their own small way were serving as ambassadors for their home countries and cultures.
In my own small way, I’d like to do the same by hosting an exchange student and being a bit more involved in the world. My favorite learning experiences in life have come from travelling, living abroad and meeting people from other countries and cultures. These are the experiences from my life that I would most strongly recommend to my own children.
I hope and believe we can provide a happy home and a rich learning environment for our student from Brazil. I can’t think of anything more important, or more meaningful, than helping a young person achieve the dream of living and studying in the U.S. I’ve seen the power of this experience in my own life, and I’m proud to open up my home to help make it possible for someone else.
Thank you Ben for sharing your powerful reasons for deciding to host an AYA student from Brazil. Your family’s participation in cultural exchange is so appreciated! We hope your words will encourage many students to consider high school exchange opportunities — and inspire many Americans to open their homes to host great AYA students — long into the future!