Hosting An Exchange Student - Step One

Our family has ten years before a teenager will dwell with us, that is until we decided to become a host family through EF Exchange. Let me rewind a bit and explain how we ended up choosing to look into welcoming someone from another country into our home for the 2018 school year. 

In October of 2014, some good friends of ours who live in Branson. Missouri came out to visit. When they arrived, they had one more daughter than we remembered them having. Who after introductions was the sweetest girl from Spain. She was their exchange student. The wonder she had with everything America offered gave us a new appreciation for what we have access too, and to this day they are still a close family. They told us they learned more from her than they ever would have imagined. They gained appreciation and a new daughter.

Fast forward to July of 2017, and I am putting an event on where I see someone with a booth covered in different countries flags. I was curious, so we struck up a conversation and then was interrupted because I needed to attend to some other pieces of the event. We promised to catch up afterward, and we did. She was a coordinator for EF Exchange. This is a program that helps place exchange students who want to come to American for one school year. I told her I would love to do something like this when my son was older, but she insisted that I look into it sooner. She gave me more information to read, and I will be honest, at first, I didn't think I would do it. But, as time started to go by, my heart was telling me that it might be time now. After a couple of conversations with my family, we all decided to go for it. And so the process started.

We were asked to fill out an application, and once that was done, we had a home visit followed by background checks. The form asked a lot of detailed questions. I appreciated this part. I felt that it was essential to be open and honest so we could find the best match possible. Our family knew we wanted someone from Europe. Switzerland, Sweden and Norway are my top choices. Our other requests are someone who doesn't want to live with pets, is okay with a younger sibling, adventurous and sporty.

Now we wait. Our coordinator sends us applicants, but no one has quite felt right. This isn't something we will rush into. If it doesn't happen it doesn't happen, but we do not want to just choose someone just to have someone. Knowing that it feels right to do this, I genuinely believe there will be someone that will fit our family, but until then we will wait.