“The differences are what make us stronger.”
Over the past few years, Deb C. and her family have enjoyed broadening their horizons by welcoming AFS high school exchange students into their home. “I really think it’s important because in our home communities we can be so insular,” Deb says, “and so it forces you to see things through another person’s eyes.”
Most AFS students come for a full school year, while some arrive in the fall and leave in December. For families choosing between hosting for a year or semester, Deb advises that both experiences have the potential for lasting benefits. A year offers families the chance to develop a profound understanding of another person’s cultural background. A semester, meanwhile, “is a great way to really see what it’s all about. You can cram a lot of stuff into a semester, and really have a good time!”
Deb was excited to see a close bond develop between her 11-year-old son Aiden and Lukas, a semester student from Austria. She remembers, “I put my son and Lukas into the same bedroom. There would be days that I could hear the music coming out of that room and I’d go walking down the hall, and they were just dancing. It was really cool to have that kind of relationship building between Lukas and my son.” all the fun and learning, Deb says that hosting has an even deeper impact. “There is so much to be gained by welcoming in people who are different than ourselves. Because the differences are what make us stronger.”
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