One of the most common assumptions people make about hosting an exchange student is that they can only host one student at a time. However, in many cases hosting two students at a time is possible if students speak different native languages and agree to a double placement.
Today, we are shining the spotlight on a wonderful family who hosted two girls this year, Nerea from Spain and Roberta from Italy. They tell us how hosting year after year brings them reoccurring, unexpected joy and lasting friendships from around the world! Read on to get a glimpse of the special memories that their students and family have made together!
What it’s like being host parents with Aspect Foundation and perhaps specifically what made you decide to host two students at once?
Being a host parent with Aspect has been one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives. We have very much enjoyed having these young people in our home. They bring such a wealth of knowledge about their home countries and are excited to learn about ours. Getting to share in the joy they have at experiencing our culture is very humbling.
The first year we hosted Kat from Norway and had such a fun, fulfilling, and rewarding year that we decided the more the merrier. So the second year we decided to host two.
What are the benefits of being a repeat host family? Challenges?
Being a repeat host family gives us the benefit of experience. We kinda know what to expect when the kids arrive so we can help them build their confidence in speaking English and guide them better through the first days of school.
One of the challenges, however, is making sure to not compare the kids. One of the things that our exchanges have really driven home for me is that teenagers are teenagers, no matter which country they come from. The exchange kids have the same fears, motivations, and interests as American kids. Because Kevin is the choir teacher at school we tend to get the musical/performing arts kids. Having that common ground to build on has helped us connect with the kids. It also seems to help them more easily make friends at school.
What have you all learned from one another thus far in the experience?
One of the things we’ve done every year is taking the girls to the Rocky Mountain Showdown, which is a college football game between CU and CSU. Its a fun intro to American football. We also like taking little trips during the year so we can show them more of the country we love. We’ve gone to Florida to see Disneyworld, Chicago to see Hamilton, New York, New Mexico, and more. Kevin and I both love to travel and we love getting to share that with our girls.
Do you have any special memories and/or traditions that you’ve created together as a family?
One of my favorite memories is of Kat. During the early fall of her stay, we figured out pretty quick that she was starting to get comfortable with us and speaking English. We asked her what her plans were for the upcoming Friday night and she replied, “Well, I’m definitely not hanging out with you nerds.” She turned all red like she couldn’t believe she’d said that out loud and Kevin and I cracked up laughing.
Here is what Roberta has to say about her experience as an exchange student:
“My favorite thing about my exchange was being able to meet so many people and create relationships with each one of them and make them a space in my heart that they are never going to leave. One thing I’m never going to forget is the beautiful sunsets that were waiting for me every evening in the Rocky Mountains. I was never disappointed.”
Host Mom’s message to all prospective host families:
“To any prospective host families, I’d say, if you’re on the fence give it a try. Aspect is really great about connecting families with kids who have similar interests to help build relationships on. They are also great about stressing how important communication is. This helps strengthen the bonds we develop with our kids and to root out conflict before it becomes a problem. You have nothing to lose by hosting and literally the world to gain.”
Are you thinking of hosting? We have many wonderful students coming from over 50 countries to study in America for the 2019-2020 school year! Visit their student profiles and learn how to become a host family today!