Hosting a Foreign Exchange Student

Alexis Acree, Staff Writer

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Last year, I began to be interested in the idea of travelling abroad for my last year of high school. To dip our toes in the water, my family decided it would be an immersive experience to host a student from Europe. It took hours worth of paperwork and lots of phone calls and emails to inquire about having a teenager live with us for the next 10 months.

Before I knew it, a tall, blonde German, 16-year-old was walking through my front door. Katharina was incredibly interested in learning more about the American lifestyle. She would be staying in our guest bedroom and commuting to school with me each day. Katharina often told me her struggles of adjusting to speaking English constantly, as well as the troubles of understanding American culture.

Dinner time soon became German language lessons, and she loved introducing her friends to me through Facetime calls. To me, it seemed that she was fairly independent and didn’t miss her home as much as I would have. My friends really enjoyed being around her; she kind of became my sibling. As time went on, our bond only grew. Saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Two weeks after the school year ended, her mom came to visit and take Katharina back to Germany with her. It seemed like our time together had flown by. She promised that I was always welcome to stay in her home as she had in mine.

Through hosting a foreign exchange student, I learned just as much from her as she did from me, and I made a lifelong friend that I know I could always depend on. Next year I plan on hosting another student, and I would highly recommend doing so for any type of family.

 

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