Five (Heroic!) Reasons To Become a Welcome Family

What if you could make a life-changing impact on a young person, enrich your local school and community, and bring some fun and excitement to your family--all with a short 30-day committment?  You CAN!

ICES is looking for welcome families across the U.S.  This is a 30-day commitment to host an exchange student so they can come and start school while a permanent host family is found. We at ICES affectionately refer to welcome families as the heroes of August, helping us give those last few students the experience they’ve been dreaming of.

Let’s face it, when thinking about becoming a welcome family, some people just need an answer to simple question of “Why should I do this?” If you are one of those people, we have a list for you right here . . .

host parents and student with welcome sign at airport

First: Haven’t you always wanted to be a hero?

You know, the kind that swoops in on a rope and saves the day! You don’t need a cape, super strength, or a bajillion dollars to save the day with ICES . . . but showing up at the last minute to help a young person from another country fulfill their dream of becoming an exchange student in the U.S. counts as swooping, right? (Definitely!) And it doesn’t get much more last minute than right now! Students from around the world have literally packed their bags and are waiting for a family to welcome them into their home. And as a welcome family, your commitment is only 30 days while your local coordinator finds their permanent placement. Cue your superhero theme music!

superhero family

Second: Who doesn't love free samples?

It isn’t often that the term “free samples” applies to anything other than food… so when we apply the term to being a welcome family, it means you get to sample the experience of cultural exchange in a real and exciting way while not committing to a full year of hosting.  So you get to be a hero to the student and the student’s family back home, while enriching your own home life with culture from the other side of the world via your short-term guest. But make no mistake, while the commitment is short-term, the memories you are likely to make will last a lifetime!

woman and exchange student at airport with sign and balloons

Third: You can make a new friend!

Ok, time to get serious for a minute. Over the last two years, if there is one thing I hope we have all learned, is the value of friendship. Personal interaction got pruned down to almost exclusively electronic interaction, and the ability to begin, build, and grow new friendships became challenging at best--for some, nonexistent. It’s time for some healing in this area, and making a new friend from another country is a great way to start. And yes, you will definitely be this student’s new friend. Helping them begin this adventure by being a welcome family for them will mean the world to them (no pun intended).

two teen girls eating cinnamon rolls

Fourth: Start something new!

The rut. It’s easy to fall into, but often hard to get out of. Wearing sweatpants and eating take out most nights hasn’t helped to “lift our collective spirits”, so to speak. Then, just like a breath of fresh air, your student from a foreign land comes into your home. And your home feels ALIVE again! A new accent, a new culture, and new sense of adventure… all because you decided not to stay in that rut. Funny things, those ruts. We often don’t even know we’re in them until something… or someONE comes along and lifts us out of them. Your someone may just be an ICES exchange student!

three teens in front of American flags

Fifth: It’s FUN!

Hosting is just plain fun—and lots of it! It brings rich conversation, family learning (the fun, fascinating kind of learning), and lots of laughter into your home and family. Did you know that the #1 source of host families is repeat host families? That’s because most families find hosting to be such an amazing, fascinating, FUN experience that hosting one time is simply not enough!

teen and young girl with dough on faces

I know it can be a little scary to jump in. And it’s easy to find reasons to do it later. But the truth is, we could really use your help now. And it’s just 30 days. 30 short days. 30 days that will fly by like that, but 30 days that will make a world of difference to the student you help. . . and I’m betting will be one of the best 30 days your family has ever experienced!

So pull on your super suit, slide on your cape and cowl, or power up--whatever it takes!  Your exchange student can't wait to meet their "Hero of August," and that just might be you!

Learn more about being a Welcome Family

Tags: Welcome Family, Host an exchange student

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