Growing up, my parents hosted exchange students, and I myself traveled to Poland for a year as a Rotary International Exchange student. I’ve known since then I wanted to host a student one day, but I never thought I would be doing it so early on, with young kiddos at home. My husband and our 3 year old son are hosting our very first exchange student and we are loving it! Here are four reasons I feel your family would love it, too:
Reason #1: Learning About Another Culture
Hosting an exchange student exposes not only you, but especially your children, to a different culture. Since we are hosting a German exchange student, our son has been learning German words here and there and can count to 10 in German. We eat lots of German food, and talk a lot about Germany and traveling often. The older your kids are, the more of an impact the exchange student will have on their view of other cultures. My family hosting an exchange student when I was in high school gave me the desire to study abroad myself, which I did for an entire year in Poland when I was 18.
Reason #2: Having An Excuse To Do Activities As A Family
Hosting an exchange student can bring a family together and force you to become more active. You naturally want to show your host student the great things your town/city/state has to offer, and by doing this you will get out more often with your own family. There have been many weekends when my husband and I would probably just lounge around the house, but thanks to our host daughter, we are much more adventurous. I created a bucket list for our host daughter that lists out all the things I want to show her in Texas. Now we only have four months together, we can’t see and do everything, but we’ve already done some amazing things! (Toured the Alamo/Riverwalk, saw Garth Brooks in concert, hiked the Barton Creek Greenbelt, attended a high school football game, and experienced a water park).
Reason #3: Developing A Relationship With Your Exchange Student
Hosting an exchange student can truly create an amazing bond. I learned from a friend that has many years of hosting experience that to create a quality relationship, you have to treat them like one of your own children. Accept them in to your family as your own daughter or son, and they will adapt to whatever lifestyle you have. You will be surprised at the connection you make, and how long it will last. My family hosted an exchange student when I was a teenager over 10 years ago, and I still talk to her to this day. We will never forget our time together! Hosting can also be a great opportunity for empty nesters that miss having kiddos around.
Reason #4: Serving Others
You are truly a blessing in these exchange students lives when you selflessly decide to host. You can have a positive and lasting impact on someone’s life forever, and that is a beautiful thing. It can be very difficult to find host families; so taking on the challenge is a wonderful act of kindness. Your children will see this, and likely want to do the same when they are older. You don’t get paid to host, and in the program we are a part of, we are responsible for providing three meals a day, a bedroom with a desk and a bathroom.
I hope you will consider hosting an exchange student as it truly can be an amazing adventure and experience for not only your family but the exchange student as well! Have you ever hosted before? If so, what was your experience?
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.livemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/jesse-square.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jesse was raised in a small Texas town, and moved to Austin with her college sweetheart, Alex, in 2012. Jesse has a passion for marketing and pursues that in her corporate day job. At night she blogs, and has blogged personally for four years at JesseCoulter.net. Jesse and Alex have a 3 year old son, and are expecting Boy/Girl Twins this January.[/author_info] [/author]