Dear Host Family,
Thank you for considering to welcome me as an exchange student.
My name is Inès. I am a 16 year old girl who live in the French-speaking part of Belgium. I am in senior year in high school. I live with my parents – Françoise and Rossen – and with my younger brother Maxime.
Maxime and I are pretty close because we’re of similar age and go to the same school. Some of my friends are the older brothers or sisters of some of Maxime’s friends. I like spending time with Maxime, playing bord-games, watching TV or just talking. My parents and I have a pretty open and honest relationship. My dad is a little bit more strict about rules, but we are more alike in our characters. It’s easier to talk with my mom though. I like not to disappoint them and even making them proud of me – this gives me motivation in difficult moments.
I choose to do an exchange year because I would like to have a pause between my high school and college studies. It is a transition year during which I will challenge myself to go out of my comfort zone and hope to gain in self-confidence. I am keen to become more autonomous and learn about myself – to discover what I am capable of. I also would like to meet new people, force myself to socialize with people who I don’t know and to learn about a new culture. I have chosen the United States because it is a country that has intrigued me for several years now and I have been wondering what it would be like to live there as a teenager. I hope to learn about the culture, the sports, the traditions (such as Thanksgiving), the people and the popular activities. I think that the best way to achieve that is to do it by living in a host family – it is a deeper “immersion” than to live in a youth house. I am really looking forward to discover differences in daily life and to adapt to them. It will be also fun to compare certain aspects of our respective cultures – I hope to allow you to discover also part of the Belgian culture, for example by preparing typical food.
During lockdown, I have started watching tv-shows and films in English. Then I started following Americans on social media and now, I am even reading books in English. I love to discover something, a film or a book, in the language it was first made in.
I like Mathematics and Economics – they are both some of my favorite subjects. Another subject that I really like is English, because it helps me improving my grammar, where I have a little bit more difficulties. I took the immersion in Dutch, so I could have a challenge to reach during my high school studies. It is not my favorite class, but I learned how to study sciences, history and geography in a foreign language thanks to it.
I really like to stay home and live an ordinary life, as much as I like to go out of my comfort zone and try new things and discover new places. My usual after school routine is to exercise, study and then I either watch a movie alone or with my family, watch American football with my dad, play board games with my brother, or read a book in my room. I try and do as much family activities as possible during the week and I like helping my parents cook but I also like baking cookies and cupcakes on my own. I would love to cook you typical Belgian – or more broadly European – type of food. During the week- end, I study for several hours and then I sometimes meet with some of my friends either in a restaurant or just at one of our houses – we sometimes also go to the cinema.
I love running alone, but I sometime also run with my dad and/or brother – it allows us to bond and catch up on each other’s’ latest events. That being said, I prefer running alone with music in my ears and the nature around me. It is really peaceful and helps me spend my energy and clear my mind when I feel stressed about something. I also would like to go to the gym to keep a physical activity during winter. With the days that become shorter, it is more difficult to go running after school, as I don’t really like running in the dark. I don’t play team sports on a regular basis, but I liked basketball when we played it at school. I have been also horse-riding for several years and did several “jumping contests” – but last year the club where I was going closed. I eventually didn’t move to another one, as I had to focus on my studies that increased in difficulty.
Last summer, I also worked for the first time in my life as a student in a restaurant. I liked these first working experiences, as they gave my a bit more self-confidence.
The exchange student year is going to be my first time in America ever.
I hope that this letter allowed you to discover a bit my personality and my current daily life. I would like to thank you again for considering to accept me in your family.
Inès from Belgium