Have you ever hosted an exchange student?

I have a few questions...

1. How much does it cost to host one for a year?

2. What was your favorite part?

3. What did you learn?

4. Would you do it again?

5. Where would your dream exchange student be from?

Update:

I put this in this section because I firgure most answerers from this area would be about 18-30 years old. :)

Update 2:

I'm in high school, and I want to host a high schooler.

1 Answer

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  • 1 decade ago
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    My husband and I have hosted 5 exchange students (4 for 10-11mos, 1 for 7mos) and have had some others as short-term guests in our home (one for a total of about 6-7wks). We have found it to be quite addicting!!

    I have a few answers...

    1. If you host with a State Department-approved organization, the financial cost is that for "room and board" -- the student needs a bed (can share a room with 1 other host sibling of same sex) and a place to study (ours usually did it at the kitchen table even though they had a desk in their room), heat, electricity, water, and 3 reasonably healthy meals per day (you don't have to have lobster and crab legs, but a teenager can't survive on 500 calories per day). It's perfectly acceptable to expect them to make their breakfast (you buy food of course), give them a school lunch ticket, and then make your usual supper.

    2. I can't limit this answer to just one thing. We don't have any kids of our own, so I love the 'energy' a teenager brings to the house. I like having informed discussions about everything -- music, politics, food. Speaking of food, I like learning what the real food is like in their country -- real Hungarian goulash for example. I love learning about the little ways in which we are so different yet so alike.

    3. I learned some interesting phrases in other languages (including how to say "I love you" in Russian and some other phrases that aren't as nice); I learned that it is illegal to be a member of the Nazi party in Germany; I learned that I *do* have the ability to be nurturing and strong; I learned that, regardless of of where they live and how mature they may seem on the outside, all teenagers have the desire to jump on the bed like a 5-yr old once in a while; I learned that there are many things (especially when it comes to pronunciation) in the English language that just don't make any sense (and that many other languages are the same way); I learned the true and full meaning of the phrase "to love someone so much it hurts"; and I learned that it makes much more sense to say "every second week" rather than "every other week".

    4. We would be doing it this year except that my job is requiring more overnight travel right now and my husband's job requires him to be away from home 2 or 3 nights every single week. I'm looking forward to next year when I should be at home almost every night and we can host again.

    5. The 'where' the student is from matters much less to us now then the 'who' the student is. We've hosted students from Russia, Hungary, Denmark, Germany, and Latvia, and have had considerable contact with ones from Switzerland, China, Norway, Japan, and a whole bunch of other countries that don't come to mind right now. We've heard from host parents who have hosted students that had to take a picture the first time they went through a fast-food drive through (they had never done it before) to students who could negotiate a subway system similar to New York City's system as if it were a walk around the block. Finding someone who matches your values, interests, and personality is the most important thing!

    I hope this helps. Feel free to ask me more questions (DamEngineer@msn.com). If you'd like to host this year, there are still students available, but the deadline is rapidly approaching (and your school may have an early application deadline). Good luck!

    (PS You can sign up to be a 'welcome' family for 4-6-8 weeks if you're not sure about doing a full semester or year.)

    Source(s): I am a 5-time host mom and volunteer with YFU.
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