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Do you want to know how hosting a foreign exchange student changed my life? Or maybe you are here because you are already interested in hosting foreign exchange students and want to know the benefits? See how hosting and coordinating changed my family's life and it will enrich your life in more ways than one.

Do you want to know how hosting a foreign exchange student changed my life? Or maybe you are here because you are already interested in hosting foreign exchange students and want to know the benefits? See how hosting and coordinating changed my family’s life.

My Hosting Experience

After 6 months of hosting a foreign student in our home and 9 months coordinating a group of foreign exchange students and their host families monthly, this has been an experience that has enriched and shifted my life forever. Moreover, is recognizing that this investment of time and resources has made a lasting positive impact on our students. Foreign student hosting is truly a delight if viewed from the right perspective.

How It All Began

This opportunity found me as my mom was approached by a regional director while in the office of the school where she serves as a long time valued educator. As she learned more about the opportunity, she thought it would be so well suited for me and the work I feel so blessed to do as a minister and mentor to students.

Originally, I was simply the coordinator recruiting host families and matching potential families with students who wish to study in the U.S. for a semester to an entire school year.

My mother then recommended me to the recruiter while we were on an international trip visiting my grandmother and my mother’s side of the family in Canada. The application, interview, paperwork and contract was all signed while on this trip. A true testimony to the power of recommendation and the internet to get things done all while traveling. And so it began, my journey to coordinating and hosting foreign exchange students.

Keep Going Despite The Setbacks

It certainly was not easy, especially within the 1st few months of promoting at local events where my non-profit had established partnerships. I personally followed up with potential host families who signed up at events who later declined to host. What they did not know is that this experience would eventually be one that garnered much benefit. Host families who take the leap of faith would soon realize this.

I can truly say hosting a foreign exchange student turned out to be one of the greatest blessings in this season of our life. Why? Because my husband and I were so engulfed by the daily grind of work and ministry, that we never considered slowing down to see just how beneficial it could be to have someone else in our home to care for. We now have a host daughter to consider when making plans. Someone to think of when deciding how decisions in our home could affect her.

Now, I understand you can’t really compare hosting an international foreign exchange student to having a baby of your own, since she is an almost young adult who can take care of herself for the most part. In this case, we are primarily there to guide, provide shelter and to make sure she does not go to bed hungry. For our current family of two, it was the closest thing at this juncture of our lives to having a child to worry about. It gave us a closer look and insight into further conversations about having our own children.

See, we have a plan and that plan was progressively shifting to “life without kids of our own could be o.k.” because of all the reasons we could come up with in this day and age. However, I truly believe God allowed things to fall into place the way it did. We ended up hosting without the original intent of doing so and it gave us a glimpse of how wonderful it can be to have a child of our own who depends on us. A child you can pour your love into, teach and exemplify God’s love while raising up to be God-fearing contributors to society and that will ultimately become a part of your legacy.

It may be surprising to some who know us personally that it took this experience to prompt us to explore this beautiful gift of expanding one’s family with a child. Other couple’s stories are different from our own, in that they already have children and having this international cultural exposure has enriched their current family dynamic. Younger host siblings are able to get a close look into the global community without living abroad and certainly the connection leads to the desire to further explore the global community as a someday scholar themselves. I have witnessed shy and inconsiderate teenagers grow and expand their horizons as positive contributors to society as a result of this experience.

As a once international student myself, hailing from the island of Jamaica and moving to the United States while in High School (Hampton High School for Girls) coming in the 8th grade and then studying abroad in London, England at Royal Holloway, University of London while a Junior at Spelman College, I know just how important it is to have a family and grounded community where I am planted. These experiences have built and formed me into the global minded person I am today, generally thinking how I can serve others rather than looking to live life for my own personal gain.

My own experiences as an international student, then study abroad student, then coordinator turned host family made me into the person I am today. In these positions as a student in every sphere, I was prepared to never give up when things got difficult. I am always astounded when I see just how strong and brave our students are when they deal so gracefully with challenges life sends their way. This experience is character building and bridges the path to depth in relationships that families would not otherwise experience without hardships and sometimes discomfort in growing and learning other cultures different from their own.

We have families and children through this experience of hosting a foreign exchange student, desire to take the leap of faith and be courageous in deciding to become foreign exchange students themselves through the outbound program. And there are scholarships in place for those wishing to embark on such a journey.

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Have you ever considered hosting? or know someone who has hosted? I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic of Hosting Foreign Exchange students and any questions you may have pertaining to this worthwhile endeavor.

I have another checklist and guide I would love to leave with you that I believe will help you if you are looking to see how this may be the best fit for you and your family.

Take The Quiz

Take the quiz poll below to see if student hosting is right for you and the best kind of student for your family dynamic. Also, learn of more ways you can live out your faith.

Should you host a foreign exchange student? If so, from which country?

Answer this brief questionnaire to see if you should host and if so, which region should your host student come from?
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Do you find European culture fascinating?
Do you believe education is the most important thing in a child's life?
Which Region would you most like to visit?
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Here are some commonly asked questions answered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

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6 months into the journey and we realize our lives has changed for the better having met and cared for our host daughter.

If you are a subscriber or have followed this blog for any period of time, you know that I absolutely love the work I get to do with local and foreign exchange students as a coordinator. Now that High school graduations have taken place in the Southeast, my husband and I had to make it a priority to celebrate each and every student.

The students we have been working with these past nine months and the host families who have sacrificed and invested time, resources and so much more to see these their student have the best experience they could have while on the program are worthy of double honor. Living and attending High School in the United States is not as easy as the media would project, but each of these students we know had an experience of a lifetime.

Here are some of the gifts created with love and personalized by hand alongside my cricut maker to present on our final day out as a group exploring some of the highlights in Atlanta (Stay tuned for a dedicated post on Things To Do in Atlanta as the Summer draws nearer).

Today, I hope this post reminds you and inspires you to spread the message that You Are Absolutely Radiant.

Here are some relevant scriptures that should further inspire you as you consider hosting.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Scriptural reminder for those considering hosting a foreign exchange student.

” And having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work ” ~1 Timothy 5:10

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.  (which means I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.

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Do you want to know how hosting a foreign exchange student changed my life? Or maybe you are here because you are already interested in hosting foreign exchange students and want to know the benefits? See how hosting and coordinating changed my family's life and it will enrich your life in more ways than one.

Get Productive and remain focused on the task at hand to celebrate the graduate in your life.

In the past I have created personalized roses framed as a DIY Keepsake as shared in our last communication and on the blog. Last month I created DIY TN Inserts that led to a bulk Mother’s Day order. If you would like to make your own inserts from the tutorial simply visit this post.

Below you will find some resources I recommend from various places to create a thoughtful gift or secure one that will warm the heart of your recipient.

Custom Chic Journal on Etsy
Absolutely Radiant Grad Art Print Certificate mock up in blue frame
Host a student flyer and sign up
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Do you want to know how hosting a foreign exchange student changed my life? Or maybe you are here because you are already interested in hosting foreign exchange students and want to know the benefits? See how hosting and coordinating changed my family's life and it will enrich your life in more ways than one

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