As most of you know, I volunteer to place and supervise exchange students locally. I love working with these students. I just love the students. With a house full of kids and a crazy schedule right now, I just can't get out and see the world like I would love to do. My students bring the world to me.
I remember moving to England for school. I had my husband and my son. I didn't have a language barrier (or much of one anyway). And it was still a lonely scary step. I want these students to be comfortable stepping out and doing something incredibly brave. I want them to have a great support system and lots of encouragement. I love to see them thriving in their host homes, churches, and schools. I love to see them learning and understanding American culture apart from hollywood's version and negative images and maybe understanding our differences AND similarities better. It brings the world closer together I think. And it's important. It is so important to think about the world outside your own little corner, your own culture.
And then there are my children. I want them to also see the world. I want them to know and experience culture, diversity, tolerance, and love. I want them to know compassion and understanding. I want them to know that the whole world doesn't do everything just like we do and that's ok. I want their lives to be rich with experience. I can't take them to do all those things. Our students bring those experiences to us. We've learned about dancing around Christmas trees, open faced sandwiches, and how to share a room. We've also learned to look at ourselves and our own choices a little more carefully and to even laugh at ourselves a little. We've learned to appreciate what we have and the resources at our disposal already. And we've learned so much about communication.
Hosting and working with exchange students is one of the most rewarding things we have done as a family. This is why I'm so passionate about my students. This is why I am constantly bringing them up. This is why I spend so much time desperately seeking great host homes for them so that those left behind are few and most get the opportunity of a lifetime. The numbers left behind last year are heart breaking. And this is why my own children will take their turn, get out of their comfort zone, learn a language, and see part of the world on their own exchange year. Consider what hosting could do in your family. I'm happy to help you find a great student from anywhere in the world-Brazil to Moldova, France to Thailand.