Host Families' First Impressions

A few weeks ago, we shared our students' first impressions of life in the U.S.  Now we'll give our host families a turn to share how they're feeling during these early weeks of turning a complete stranger into a member of the family.  You might be surprised at what they have to say!


Enjoying a Perfect Fit

“Ema is very nice & up for anything. So far, she has experienced a minor league baseball game, a Steve Miller Band concert and this coming weekend will experience college football (the University of Montana Grizzlies). Ema has fit into our family perfectly.” 

Randall & Brenda Solorzano-Caudle hosting Ema from Argentina in Montana


Looking Forward to This Year

“The hosting experience has been wonderful so far. Due to the pandemic, we had to wait an extra year to welcome Clara into our family. Jessie and I have been amazed at Clara’s confidence, willingness to try new things, and how great she has been with our little boys. We’re looking forward to the rest of the year with this valued new family member!”

Clara_Spain The Madden Family hosting Clara from Spain in Michigan


Enjoying Learning about Spain

 “This is the Lamphere’s first time being a host family and we absolutely love it.  We have been truly blessed to welcome Martina to her new second family in Ionia, Michigan.  Martina is from Barcelona, Spain and is an all-around genuine girl.  We are looking forward to learning about the Spanish culture and building a lifelong friendship of priceless memories.”Angela Lamphere

The Lamperes hosting Martina from Spain in Michigan


Admiring a Go-with-the-Flow Attitude

“Our first impression with the hosting experience has been a bit overwhelming! This is our first year hosting and we are very excited! There is a lot of information and questions we had going into this experience and our coordinators did a wonderful job answering our questions. With Covid we were a little concerned about visa's and passports but in the end it all turned out as it should! We now have a wonderful addition to our home and our family. Ana has fit in so well with our children and our life and our pets. She has been so very sweet and caring. Her "go with the flow" attitude has allowed her to really jump into this experience feet first and we have had a wonderful time. Ana has been so gracious to even share some of her own culture with our family and it is really amazing! We love learning about other cultures, and she has been so patient with us in learning about Spain! We are looking forward to an amazing school year with her!”

Ana1Nick, Amanda, Aurora and Cole Thomas hosting Ana from Spain in Oregon

Experiencing Two Cultures at Once

“First impression of hosting was very exciting just as it is today. Our family has hosted a total of 9 students, and we have learned something from each of them which has changed our family forever. We are currently hosting 2 students this year. We have a young lady named Aleksandra from Poland and a young gentleman Jannis from Germany.  Many people often ask us why we would host two. We love learning about different cultures, and we love watching the interactions between the two different countries. They have already built a long-lasting friendship. Our students each gave us the same impression. They are open-minded, kind, grateful for this experience, and overall, just amazing kids! We wouldn’t trade them at all!”

ZylaThe Zylas hosting Aleksandra (Poland) & Jannis (Germany) in New England


Helping out with Everything

“Our first impression of our student is that she’s a very polite, quiet girl. She is very willing to help out, even when it comes to feeding the animals.”

LetiziaThe Domenighini’s hosting Letizia from Italy in Oregon



Giving Daughter Another Sibling

MooreThelma (left) with our kiddo Kyleigh (right)

“We are the Moore family of Wayland Michigan, and we are hosting Thelma from Spain. Our first impression of hosting was that it is amazing!  It is so good to learn about other countries and our daughter who is now 15 (7 when we started hosting) insisted we host this year she really enjoys having host siblings!  It’s awesome to hear about Spain and their culture!  Our first impression of our girl Thelma was that she was super sweet and quiet!  She is so polite and lovable!” 

The Moores hosting Thelma from Spain in Michigan


Feeling Like Family Already

“Carlotta has wonderful manners, is eager to try new things, and is independently motivated to take care of business both around the house and at school. We can see why she was recommended by her teachers and interviewers for this program. In just our first week, it really feels like she has become a member of the family. We have already been able to laugh and share experiences about things we find similar between our cultures and converse about those we have found to be different. We are excited for her opportunities at school, and very much look forward to all the fun experiences we will have together.”  

Patrick Delgado & Delaney Rawson hosting Carlotta from Italy in Connecticut


Starting Another Worthwhile Adventure

“This is our ninth student to welcome into our home for this amazing experience. My first impression thought is this... I love how from the moment we see them at the airport, they are family. The welcome hug, the exhausted child in my back seat, the wide-eyed teenager checking out their new surroundings, the scared kid on the first day of school (who isn't scared on the first day, I've been teaching for 28 years, and I still get butterflies on the first day) and the fun, insightful, exciting, and even mundane conversations at the family dinner table. This is all only the beginning of what makes this experience, this adventure, so worthwhile.”


Sue and Michael Knepper hosting Marta from Italy in Ohio


Settling into a Routine

“The first week is a bit busy with all the new things that we were working through with getting school set and the family rules/expectations.  We have hosted in the past, so we already knew what to expect and know that the busy time is just how it is.  I think we have found a good rhythm now and we have established a routine.”

The Schuurmans hosting Ilona from Finland in Michigan


Welcoming Another Daughter

“This is our third experience hosting a student. We couldn’t be happier with the experiences we have shared with these wonderful girls. We feel like they truly became part of our family. Our first impression of Adele is that she, too, will become another ‘daughter’ for us.”

CarnahanThe Carnahan’s hosting Adele from France in Oregon


Expanding Horizons Every Day

“So far, the hosting experience has been wonderful.  Rebecca is a joy to have in our house. She was exhausted and quiet when she arrived but is adjusting and learning quickly.  As a host family, we knew it would be fun to share similarities and differences between our countries and to show Rebecca around our state/country. It is becoming more interesting than expected, though, because she is introducing us to other exchange students in school. So, we get to interact with and learn about them as well.  We are excited to continue our adventure this year.”


Kathy and Will Weycker hosting Rebecca from Italy in Michigan


Admiring Bravery and Thoughtfulness

“The girls are definitely part of the family already! Although both girls are the youngest in their families, they both jumped right into being big sisters to our 3 young ones. We are amazed at how brave, thoughtful, loving, adventurous and at the same time totally opposite in every way the girls are.” 

CorderThe Corders hosting Jade (France) and Chian-ai Lin (Taiwan) in Michigan


Making Worthwhile Adjustments

“It's a worthwhile adjustment to your everyday life. Jannetje just fit right in with her open to anything attitude. It's like she has always been part of our family.” 

JannetjeJennifer hosting Jannetje from Germany in California.


Opening to Love, Love, Love

“Hosting also has opened our hearts to love, love, love and to take advantage of everyday we are given with Leonie. Hosting has filled us with happiness during the last year in a half with the pandemic it’s been hard, and she’s been our saving grace. She’s the perfect fit we are all in love and are so thankful for her. Her outgoing personality has us meeting many new families and going to many sporting events. Leonie is a breath of fresh air.” 

Alysse & Mark Crum hosting Leonie in Michigan


Feeling Overwhelmed with Joy 

“Hannah is our 3rd student, but our first from Germany.  She is 15 years old and one of the most sincere, honest, humble, intelligent, compassionate, funny, respectful, mature, and AMAZING individuals we have ever had the pleasure of meeting!

One month into school, she is a straight A student, actually all A+'s with only one class one point away from an A+.  Her goal for this semester is all A+'s, but part of achieving that goal is to not be too hard on herself while she is experiencing all that South Florida has to offer.  She is wise well beyond her 15 years!

She is enjoying our beaches and looking forward to attending a high school football game. She is fulfilling her volunteer hour requirement for school at a local horse farm, as she cares for a horse at home, and this is something familiar to her.

She has started tennis lessons with our local high school's coach.  He could not wait to call me to tell me just how special she is!  She is the perfect student, follows his instruction, thinks that instruction through to the end result, all before executing the instruction.  He has coached for over 40 years, and he told me she would be in his top 5 students this year and wished she was here for the spring tennis season.  He just couldn't stop complimenting Hannah on every aspect of her personality.   Yes, she is a very special young woman!

We welcomed her to Florida on her first night here at a Disney World hotel, as we had a previous trip planned and we were able to coordinate her flight to that trip.  She very much enjoyed spending her first night and the next afternoon at the pool.  She then got a crash course in South Florida weather, as a typical afternoon storm rolled in quickly.  Welcome to Florida!

She has joined a local gym and goes twice a week with another exchange student from Spain. She has made us dinner, Spatzle, it was amazing!

We introduced her to Cornhole at one of our riverfront restaurants.  She walked around and told us she felt like she was on holiday, nothing but smiles on her face, it is so beautiful!

She is eager to share with me, on the ride home, how each of her classes that day have gone.  She is reading The Great Gatsby in her English class.  The vocabulary is somewhat challenging, as some words do not translate to German. We sat on the couch last night, and I only knew 2 of the 5 words myself!  But she still has an A+, so I am not worried at all!

She received a post card from one of her friends at home yesterday, and we both cried, she was so happy to receive it!

By far, this has been the most rewarding hosting experience our family has had!”

Hannah KiesThe LaPorta family hosting Hannah from Germany in Florida


Feeling Grateful to Her Parents 

“Before we arrived to meet our foreign exchange student, we were so uncertain and scared of what it would be like. We worried about sharing our space, time, if she would be comfortable or how we would communicate as well as a million other thoughts and worries. From the first moment we met Patricia, we knew that she just fit. Who she is as a person transcends any cultural differences and we are so thankful to have her in our lives. We feel truly blessed that her family shares her with us because we understand the value of these few years before our children leave. Patricia is funny, caring, outgoing, independent, thoughtful, and beautiful inside and out. She’s a good person and we are already very confident that when this program is over, we will wish it wasn’t and we will have been better for having had her in our lives. We have been so lucky.”

Patricia_SpainDavid, Stacie, Hadley & Dawson VanDenBerghe hosting Patricia from Spain


Watching Them Thrive

“Our first experience has been great so far. We are a young couple with no biological children, so it has been a fun adjustment to have two teens in our house getting to take them to different activities and watching them thrive during their short time here already.  We are looking forward to the rest of the year together!”

McAuliffeMatthew & Katie McAuliffe double hosting Virginia from Italy and Lucie from France in Nebraska


Adding Value to Our Lives

“We are new to hosting as this is our first year and right away, we have loved the experience. Our student fits perfectly in our family! She is adding value to our lives and is wonderful with our young kids. Alejandra is so sweet and has adapted well with her easy and open personality.” 


The Mitchell family hosting Alejandra from Spain in Michigan 


This grand adventure is just getting started for these families, and for many other ICES families across the country.  The months ahead hold new adventures, experiences, relationships, memories, learning, growth, and so much more!  

A big THANK YOU to every family who has opened their home to an exchange student, providing them the opportunity to have the experience of a lifetime!

 Logo - ICES White text Transparent (small)-2

If you didn’t get in on the fun of welcoming an exchange student into your family this school year, it’s not too late! We have a new group of students arriving in January and we’d love to help you find one who is just the right fit for your family.

In addition, we often have other short- and long-term hosting needs throughout the year, so contact us to learn more about opportunities in your area.

Learn More About Hosting


Tags: Host an exchange student, Reasons to host

Subscribe to Our Blog Today!