January 31, 2016

Host Family Supports Student, Encourages Confidence

Ayusa Host Family Supports and Encourages Exchange Student

It’s no small thing, welcoming a student into your home. Sharing two experiences, two lives, two countries all under one roof may seem daunting. But a lot can be accomplished with a hospitable host family and a brave, open Ayusa exchange student.

When Louisa arrived in Tennessee from her home country of Germany, she was filled with questions - “Am I going to fit in this family? Are they going to like me?” Luckily (though expectedly) the Hamilton family treated Louisa “like a daughter and sister” from the very beginning. For this, the Hamiltons were selected as the Host Family of the Month!

When Louisa was nervous about going to school, her host mother told her how happy her classmates would be to meet an exchange student. She was right, of course, and Louisa felt “…much more comfortable and self-assured.”

In fact, due to this boost of confidence — both in herself and her place in her new family -- Louisa decided to join the soccer team. The Hamiltons supported her every step of the way and “…was as excited as I was when I actually made it into the team.” They continued to support Louisa by dropping her off and picking her up from practice, letting her know that they love and trust her, and cheering her on at games. And, of course, when Louisa is occasionally down her host dad “cheers me up with his awesome humor.”

But exchange is a two-way street, an open and welcoming host family needs an equally open and welcoming student like Louisa. Louisa’s host sister “was a bit shy at first,” but is, “Now like a sister and best friend to me and we do everything together.”

The Hamiltons welcomed Louisa into their house with love and support and Louisa responded in kind. She sums it up beautifully by adding, “I think love and trust are one of the most important things to hold a family together and I am really glad that they share it with me.”

Congratulations to the Hamiltons for being selected as Host Family of the Month! If you would like to nominate your family, send your story and photos to stories@ayusa.org.

Sharing cultures and building communities with high school exchange.

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