ICES would like to congratulate Maria from Spain for being selected as the ICES Student of the Month for May. Maria is being hosted by the Hartman family in New Market, Maryland and attended Linganore High School. She was nominated for Student of the Month by her host mom, Megan.
Megan says, “From the day Maria arrived, she has been a joy to host. She is responsible, brave and inspiring. She is never afraid to join in and will try anything. We've had a lot of great adventures with Maria and some moments of incredible growth.”
Maria is very athletic and found sports to be an excellent way to get involved and meet people in her host community. The first thing she did when she arrived was sign up for community volleyball. She also took on kickboxing, and joined her host family in attending her host sister’s gymnastics meets. Maria served as the manager for the varsity girls basketball team, and was slated as the team high jumper for track season.
Maria has loved soaking up everything America had to offer her, and she returns to Spain with many incredible memories, including running a 5K Turkey Trot with her host family, skiing on Liberty Mountain, and visiting a local zoo and a kangaroo sanctuary where she had the fun experience of feeding the marsupials. Maria also enjoys simple pleasures like watching movies and competing in game nights with the family and the neighbors.
A diligent student, Maria has maintained a 3.5 GPA while taking Honors and AP classes. While distance learning, she is the first one up in the morning and helps wake up her host siblings for online school every day. Maria is rising to the unexpected challenge of doing school at home, and is keeping up her remarkable grades and taking everything in stride.
Sharing her Spanish culture has been fun for both Maria and her host family. She enjoys teaching her host siblings Spanish, and is always willing to answer their many questions and translate for them as the family tries to learn her language. She has cooked for them and taught them about Spanish holidays, such as Dia de los Reyes, or Kings Day, which took place in January.
Maria helps around the house whenever she can, even asking for chores, and she frequently makes dinner for the family. She likes to cook and bake and seems to enjoy learning about American and Greek food.
All members of the Hartman family adore Maria, and that includes her fur siblings: Smoke and Clyde (pictured below), and Sadie and Bailey. Maria took to the pooches right away and can often be found snuggled up relaxing with them or petting them.
Host mom Megan says, “We've enjoyed having Maria stay with us and she will always be welcome here. She has become a fantastic big sister to her host siblings and such a cherished member of the family.”
We are so proud of Maria for being such an outstanding cultural ambassador. As the Student of the Month, Maria will receive a $100 Visa gift card, an ICES t-shirt, and a congratulatory letter from ICES President, John Crist.
Would you like to provide a life-changing opportunity to an international teen while also enriching your own family life?
Consider hosting an exchange student with ICES!
We are always looking for caring host families and would love talk with you about this fantastic opportunity to impact the world. Whether your are single or married, young or old, have kids who are young, teens, or all grown up---chances are, we have a student that would love to live with you.