As a part of Host Family Appreciation Week at CIEE, we asked our host families to share their stories hosting international students, and how it has impacted their lives.
The Elozory family lives in Tampa, FL and is made up of host mom Bonnie, host dad Daniel, their teenage daughter Diana, and service dog. They are a first time host family and hosting Natalie from Germany this year.
The Elozory family told us:
“I love being a host mom. It gives me the chance to share our lives with another kid. We get to see the world and especially America through fresh new eyes. Our exchange student feels like an important and complete part of our family. We've had so much fun showing her America. It's made us get out and enjoy the gifts of our own great country. Getting to know all of the other exchange students in our area has also been such a rich experience for us. We find the kids to be very energetic, thoughtful, and inquisitive people. They are the doers of the world. They've left the comfort of home to venture out and meet and live with foreigners. I find them brave and interesting. They have expanded our view of the world.
Seeing our exchange student blossom and grow has been exciting. She's gotten involved in sports, the choir, and many things our own kids didn't do. We get to see her preform in shows and compete in events. It broadens our life experiences. We've met so many people because of her. Sharing your life with another person expands your understanding of the world. It allows one to see things new and afresh.
My daughter plans to travel to her student's home this summer. We are so excited for her to see the larger world. Certainly the exchange student program fosters a universal dedication to peace through knowledge and understanding of each other. We learn how we are different and also alike. It's a wonderful lesson for young people to learn. ”
To see more stories from Host Family Appreciation Week, visit our Host Family News blog.