Greenheart is always looking for the perfect families to host international high school exchange students. Sean and Paul in Minnesota have been hosting for about 5 years now, and shared why they host with us recently.
We are Sean and Paul from Minneapolis, Minnesota and we have been hosting exchange students since August of 2017. We have had a student every year except for the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID. We love to travel and feel that hosting exchange students is a great way to travel the world by inviting someone to live with us for a school year.
This year, we are hosting Iacopo from Italy.
We really enjoy hosting exchange students as we all get to learn something new. We get to learn more about another culture and how to cook new foods. Hosting an exchange student allows us to show different aspects of American culture to the students we host. The interactions the exchange students have with others at school, our families, and our community help others to learn about a new culture as well. They also help us get more involved in the school community when they participate in extracurricular activities.
When you host an exchange student, you add another person to the family. When the student first arrives, we tell them that they are not a guest and are a member of the family. They are included in all activities, including preparing one meal a week, and are expected to participate in chores around the house. As with any family member, there can be occasional difficulties as everyone adjusts to different routines and personalities. In the end, it always works out and is a great moment for everyone to learn something.
We receive great support from our Greenheart Local Coordinator, Mary. She has learned more about what we are interested in and has done a great job narrowing down our choices of students to host. She even knows the key things to highlight when talking about a student to pique our interest more. If we have questions, she is there to help us. She also helps to work through any issues when appropriate.
We have been fortunate to have five students from four different countries live with us. We keep in touch with all of them, including two students that were not able to live with us due to COVID. We enjoy hearing about their lives and being able to see how they have grown after their exchange year. This year we were able to have one of our former students, Sebastian from the Czech Republic, visit us. It was great to hear how we have had a positive impact on them and we are someone they can come to when needed.
Thank you Sean and Paul for sharing your hosting with Greenheart story!
Are you interested in being a host family for an international high school student? Visit HostwithGreenheart.org to learn more and apply!