I have been a host mom to a foreign exchange student for the past 5 months. Let me put my disclaimer out there first so here it is ……
*****Disclaimer- not all host family experiences are positive and not all experiences are negative. This is my experience and is not a reflection of a positive or negative feeling toward the idea of having an exchange student. This is just simply MY thoughts about MY experience. No negativity and no offense noted toward anyone or anything. Thank you.******
I have been asked after the past worst five months of my life if I would do it again and my resounding answer is NO. Without going in to specifics, it’s time to move on.
The whole idea of hosting a foreign exchange student is about chemistry. Do they fit in with you and you with them? Do you have the same interests? In our case… initially yes and now… not so much. The chemistry that was once there is gone. Unlike your own children, they come to you already set in who they are and you either are a good match or you are not. In this case our work ethics, spiritual upbringings and so many other things are NOT the same. And without naming specific names… the company we are working with is by FAR one of the worst I have ever dealt with. Dishonest, terrible at communication, and not to mention disrespectful to host families.
For us, the common threads we had in the beginning are unravelling. We have no common thread anymore. It is time to move on.
We have assisted with finding another host family for our student second semester. He is not enjoying attending wrestling meets and basketball games. Was not enjoying the time we spend cheering our two sons on. Was no longer having fun.
He asked us if we could take him to museums and historical places and unfortunately we cannot do that because of our own kids busy and demanding schedules. Our weekends are spent being their biggest fans and I do NOT regret that. That is simply our life now, and it does not mesh with what he is wanting to accomplish.
We are beginning the process this week of getting him moved on to his next stop. We were his second host family in a year and he now moves on to his third. We wish him well, thank him for the experiences he has given us and hope he sees how proud we are to represent this beautiful country we call home.
He will finish out his year in our same small community in a home with children who are not involved in as much as our kids are. With us he was able to attend the Iowa State Fair, experience playing American football, experience Christmas in an American home, experience Thanksgiving and Halloween cultures and experience harvest and the fun of combining on a farm in the great state of Iowa.
We wish him well on his next step of his journey, and we look forward to having our life fall back into its “normal” again.
I am sharing this only because “all that glitters sometimes is not gold” as the saying goes, and if you have ever thought about hosting, just know that while there is some beautiful and wonderful things that can come from the experience, there is also some negative in some cases. There are different cultures, backgrounds and expectations at play and sometimes you have to recognize when it is time to move on.
We wish him our best!