All our students have returned to their home countries and natural families. It’s been a great year for all our AYA students and they have taken home great memories of their year in America with them. For many host families this is a time of reflection of the year past.
Host dad John and his family live in the thumb region of Michigan and enjoy a very active lifestyle, skiing, camping and exploring new places. In early September the family welcomed a young lady from South Korea, Ga-Won. In the spirit of AYA reflections, John shares with us the benefits of hosting an exchange student.
About few days ago someone asked me, “Why would you ever think about getting an exchange student?” After some thought, I came to realize that there are so many benefits to having an exchange student. Number one, the host family is able to share their life with their students. When Ga-Won first came to our home, the world that she knew became a new place with a lot to learn. She had a new home, a new family, new traditions, new food and new experiences. I remember when I first asked Ga-Won to try some American nachos, she was not too sure at first, but after she tried some she loved them. I think this eagerness to experience new things is refreshing and even more rewarding to be able to provide the opportunity to international students.
Another benefit of having an exchange student is being able to learn about their culture. I would have to admit that before I had a Korean exchange student, I knew very little about the country of South Korea. However, now I am able to appreciate a country with such beauty, rich culture, a great history and an awesome figure skater, thanks to Ga-Won. Often, she would teach us about her culture, by cooking a traditional Korean meal or by teaching us her language. Hosting at the end of the day is such a wonderful way to bring the world into your home and share it with your family.
Lastly, the real benefit of having an exchange student is developing a lasting relationship. Having Ga-Won as part of our family has been a wonderful and exciting adventure. We shared many good times together and created memories that will stay with us forever. We are even planning on going to Korea to visit her. All in all it was an amazing year. So the answer to the question as to why we would have an exchange student, is why not?
Thank you John for sharing your hosting experience with us! Do you have a similar story to share with us? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or are you interested in learning about a new culture and opening up your home to an international student? Host this fall with AYA by applying, here.