(Oda from Norway Studying in Florida)
Aspect Foundation’s inbox is flooded with notes from students expressing their gratitude for the experience they have had on student exchange. On Thursdays, we post one of these notes, sharing the “warm fuzzies” with all of you!
Today’s Thank You Thursday features Oda from Norway, who is studying in Florida with the Smith family. Read her letter to her host family below!
Dear host family. My American family.
When, after coming home from her US vacation, my sister told me that you guys were joking about having the second “Holden-Utne-girl” over, I got so hyped. I had thought about being an exchange student for years, but my head hadn’t landed on a decision yet.
(Oda’s Arrival in Florida)
I had so many what ifs spinning around in my head. One of the major what ifs of all the what ifs was; what if my foreign exchange family had a very different mindset from mine? That might make communication poor and a common understanding hard to reach. The fact that I knew I could delete that worry from the what ifs on my checklist if I were joining your family, made the decision to cross the Atlantic for a year a lot easier. Thank you for giving the second “Holden-Utne-Girl” a try!
It takes a lot of effort to complete the application to become an exchange student. Many forms have to be filled in, and numerous e-mails have to be written. But it’s not only the person who is traveling abroad for a year that has to put effort into paperwork for getting it all worked out. Any family who wants to take a stranger from the other side of our planet into their home, has to go through an extensive screening process. I am so grateful for all the hours you spent on getting it all ready and worked out for me.
(Oda and her host siblings at Christmas)
However, the application process is nothing compared to the stage that is coming after the family has been accepted and awarded a new family member. The fact that a person is going to live with your family for a year is crazy. Think of how many meals, thoughts, problems, smiles and holidays that the new family member and the host family are going to share throughout a year. Think of how generous it is to let someone into your house for such a long time. It isn’t just a bedroom given away, it’s a lot more than that. The host family is devoting their time to the exchange student. And time is life. Thank you for making me part of your American life.
(Oda and her host siblings visiting the coast)
I could’ve written a bible of examples and situations where I just feel so grateful. Grateful for how interested you are. Grateful for how generous you are. Grateful for how encouraging you are. Grateful for how kind you are. And of course, I’m so grateful for how tolerant you are considering that you guys are hosting a Norwegian weirdo..
Interested in sharing YOUR corner of the world with an international exchange student? Learn more about becoming a host family at: http://aspectfoundation.org/host-families.