6 Words Exchange Students Use to Describe their Host Moms

An AFS exchange student and her host mom bond over a cooking lesson.

In preparation for Mother's Day on May 11, we asked 6 AFS exchange students from around the world - hosted both in the U.S. and other countries - to choose one word to describe their host mother, and to give us insight into their unique relationship with the perfect stranger that became "Mom." Here is what they shared:

"My relationship with my host mom is like the relationship between a real mother and daughter..."

...Of course, in the beginning, it felt strange to call a person I had just met, “mom.” But as soon as I saw how kind she was during the first week of my exchange, I knew that I would love her. We love shopping and cooking together – we could do these things all day and never get bored. I enjoy her company so much, and I hope to come back and visit her in the coming years!

-Mai from Egypt

"My host mom and I have had some really interesting conversations..."

...about the history and politics of my host country. She took the time to tell me about these things and help me understand the country better. I feel like I have a really good relationship with her, and I have a greater appreciation for this beautiful place I’m living in.

-Aleksander from Norway

"The first day, when I arrived at the bus stop to meet my host family, I was so nervous. But my host mom just smiled at me and said..."

...“You’re taller than I thought!” It was the perfect thing to say at that moment because it made me laugh and was completely disarming. Somehow, she knew how to instantly make me feel comfortable when everything was new and I was so far from home.

-Mara from Germany

"My host mom always gives me a special lunch to take to school because I don’t like the school food..."

...When I told her I miss all the activities I normally do at home, she found tango lessons and Thai Boxing classes for me to do. When I have a problem at school, she is the one who helps me, and if I get upset, she has kind words that make me feel better. My host mom is always there for me.

-'Milk' from Thailand

"My host mom is such an inspiration because she has such a busy life, with sick family members to take care of and a million things to coordinate...."

...But she stays on top of it all, in addition to cooking for our family, cleaning the house and making sure all of us are happy and healthy. She’s the world’s best multi-tasker, and she does it all out of love for her family, which now includes me!

-Alice from USA

"When I arrived in Argentina, my host mom asked me if I had taken Spanish classes back home. The answer was 'no'...."

...So she signed me up for a special Spanish class for foreigners. Then she supported me every step of the way, helping me practice Spanish and reminding me to speak it with my friends, in stores, in restaurants, etc. and especially at home. I don’t know where I would be without her encouragement.

-Kittamet from Thailand

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