It’s not every day we hear that a future Olympian hosts one of our students, but that is exactly what happened when Regional Director Mary Lou Dunekacke reconnected with former host Curtis Tomasevicz this year. Curt’s family hosted German student Philip with Ayusa back in 2001. The Tomasevicz family lived in a small town in Nebraska, where graduating classes only held about 25 students. Philip flourished, attending all the school events and sports he could. Curt marveled that he never let any homesickness affect school or his exchange experience, and he viewed the small town atmosphere as a new and exciting experience.
Philip arrived in the Tomasevicz home just as Curt headed off to college. The family often joked that Philip was Curt’s ‘replacement’, a thought that was comforting to Curt as he embarked on his college career. Though not in high school together, Curt’s college was not far away, so Philip and the rest of the family came to visit often and watch Curt play football, and they still remain close. Curt shares that “hosting a student has was great. Philip taught us a lot about international culture as well as extended the number in our family. He fit in great with us as well as at school. It took a little while, but he made some great friends with the other students.”
After college, Curt met another former college athlete who was recruiting for the U.S. Bobsled team and an Olympic athlete was born. In 2010, Curt and his team won Gold in the 4-man Bobsled. Curt now trains October through March, though as they look toward the 2014 Olympics, time off is harder to come by. Currently, Curt’s team is in first place and they hope to make the U.S. Olympic team for 2014.Curt understands that the education that comes from hosting an exchange student is invaluable. “Through hosting you have the chance to learn about the world” says Curt. Hosting also helped Curt gain more insight into living and sharing with others, and prepared him for his career as an Olympic athlete. Curt has traveled the world, and his experience with Philip and other exchange students helped prepare him for what to expect, and allowed him to learn some German, which helped him feel more comfortable among the locals.
Curt, his family, and their exchange students cherished their time together and the opportunity to share their culture – an experience he believes everyone should have. “I would encourage anyone to consider hosting a student. It will definitely expand your horizons to learn how other people around the world live. It's fun to teach the students about American culture as well. Holidays, sports, language, and food are all new traditions to be shared.”