From February 22nd through March 4th 20 French students cozied into 20 host family homes around the Portland, Maine area. The group participated in classroom visits at a local school, a trip to Boston, snow tubing, and a Greenheart Volunteer activity, as part of a Taste of American High School program. Their stay was short but sweet, and according to local coordinator Kathy Hansen they were “the perfect group.” CCI Greenheart interviewed one host family and one French student from the group to get a closer look at the experience.
First we will introduce you to Nathan, a 14 year old French boy who loves to play rugby. This was Nathan’s first trip to the United States, and he chose to travel to Maine with his peers because he wanted to discover American life, school, and landscapes. We asked Nathan to describe a typical day during his homestay in Maine. He wrote that he woke up at 6 AM every day during the week and studied English, science, social studies, and attended a gym class. In the afternoons during the week Nathan engaged in activities with the group or hung out with his host family. Nathan’s favorite part of the homestay program was when he got to snowboard with his host family one weekend. Nathan truly enjoyed all the activities with his host family, and he didn’t mention a single challenge! In fact, Nathan would love to come back and stay with his host family again as he wrote that they could not have been more kind to him.
Nathan did write down a few notable things about the United States. First, he noted that all American students have laptops to study. Second, he wrote that everything is bigger in America, the food portions, the cars, and the malls. It’s quite funny because Nathan’s host family observed that Nathan never snacked between meals and always took very small portions in order to be sure he could clear his plate. Nathan’s best bit of advice for anyone thinking of traveling on a group homestay program with CCI Greenheart is to be yourself, be open to trying new things, and make the most of your time with your American host family.
Nathan was hosted by the Ginter family, made up of two parents Joleen and Jamie, a daughter Emily, and a son Cameron. This was the Ginter family’s first time hosting, and they chose to host at the very last minute once they realized how great of an experience it could be! The Ginters wrote that their favorite memory was two days into the trip when Nathan finally became comfortable in the house. At that point he was able to settle in, play with the Ginter kids, goof off, and it felt like he was truly a part of the family.
Hosting a foreign exchange student helped the Ginters learn about French culture without having to ever leave their home. The Ginter family wrote that the experience has changed their view of other cultures in that they came to realize that we are all very similar in many ways, yet the differences between cultures allows us to open our eyes a little bit to maybe change our own ways. The Ginters would definitely recommend hosting a student with CCI Greenheart to any potential families out there! They applauded Judy Farwell and Kathy Hansen as the coordinators for the group and are so very thankful for the wonderful experience!
If you are interested in hosting a CCI Exchange student please visit our Hosting Webpage to learn more.