When I was 12 years old my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Japan. That moment was pivotal in my life, as it opened my eyes to the wonderful world beyond my community. Since that first student, my parents have hosted over 20 students, my husband and I have hosted 6 students, I’ve lived abroad with 6 different families in 3 countries, and I’ve worked as a program coordinator with Cultural Homestay International for over 100 exchange students.
My purpose in creating this blog is not only to share funny stories, though there will be plenty of those, but also to offer my observations of humanity as witnessed through my experiences with young people from around the world. I truly believe that the purpose of foreign exchange is to learn from one another and exchange culture in a way that brings us all closer together. Yes, there are plenty of cultural misunderstandings and “lost-in-translation” moments that make for funny anecdotes, but more importantly is the underlying fact that we are not that different from those living on the other side of the world. Young people have great hopes and dreams, and their family and friends want to see them achieve those dreams. As cliché as it sounds, the more we try to understand each other and share life experiences with people from different cultural backgrounds, the richer our own lives become.