Pictures of Gratitude

In preparation for Thanksgiving, we launched a photo contest in which we asked our students and host families to share captioned photos that express why they are thankful for each other.  We received so many beautiful photos and heartfelt sentiments!  Our students and host families are truly amazing, and we are excited to share some of our favorites with you.


Contest Winners

Congratulations to our three winners, each of whom will receive a $100 Visa gift card.


Courtney Heath

"We are thankful for our exchange student, Alba Mosquera,  from Spain. She lightens the mood between siblings, encourages excellence in academics, and welcomes teasing and playfulness.  She is one of us through and through!"

Submitted by Courtney Heath

Shelley, Idaho

Host mom to Alba Mosquera, Spain


Tera Rush

"Texas Pumpkin Patch!! 🎃

Sofia’s first experience. I love this photo because Sofia’s smile is honestly full of joy!

We are already so blessed by her sweet self! Every day is an opportunity to learn - about us and about her. About Texas and about Sicily. About the USA and about Italy!

We are grateful for each new day together. This experience is truly a gift of cultures uniting and caring authentically.

As Sofia’s “host mama”, I am thankful for this gift of relationship between her and my kids. It is precious to witness the realness of the three of them.

We thank God for this gift!"

Submitted by Tera Rush

Houston, Texas

Host mom to Sofia Scichilone, Aragona, Sicily


Andres Guerrero Cabrera

"I've only been here for three months and I'm having one of the best experinces of my life and everything because of my host family. I'm thankful to them for making so many and exciting activities with me, for showing me all the american culture, its gastronomy and its people, and I'm also thankful to my host family for making me feel like part of the family. Thank you Roos Family for being such a wonderful host family!" - Andre Cabrera from Spain

"We're thankful for all the extra fun that comes along with an extra kid in the family! Andrés has been an awesome big brother to Lucy (who calls him 'Brother-A')." - Host mom, Kimberly

Submitted by Andres Guerrero Cabrera, Malaga, Spain

and host mom Kimberly Roos

Germantown Hills, Illinois


Honorable Mentions

These heart-warming pictures made it to the final round of judging--I'm sure you'll understand why!

Amke Ulrichs"This is my host sister, Piper, and I. She became a real sister for me during the last four months. This exchange year isn’t only giving me a second life, but I became a part of a family that loves me like I’m their daughter and sister. I have already grown as a person and experienced so much that is going to influence my life forever. This exchange year became the best decision I’ve ever made because I found new friendships that will last for lifetime." 

Submitted by Amke Ulrichs, Germany

Living in Danville, Indiana



Andrea GM

"Indeed, after my family, what I am most grateful for is that SUCH a good host family has chosen me. 

I cannot explain in words the affection I have for them and how much I care about these three little people. What I am most grateful for is that they have taught me that the most important thing in life is not material. They make me feel loved, supported, understood and listened to as if I were one of the family and never exclude myself from any plan. I am thankful that I can give my host mum a hug when I miss my mother, I can give my host dad a hug when I miss my father, and I can give my host sister a hug when I miss my brother. 

I have realized that without them, this experience could have been really different and I don’t want it to be different, it is perfect how it is."

Submitted by Andrea Gimeno Montero, Spain

Living in Thompsonville, Michigan


Corder Family

"We are so thankful for both Jade and Irene. They are both so mature, gentle, kind, helpful, curious, and fun. I am thankful that they want to spend their time with us, as teenagers the easiest option would be to spend time in their bedroom. Instead they are truly happy to attend 5th birthday parties and have late night conversations on the mysteries surrounding the pronunciation of the words, "thought" and "bought." It's really twice the fun having both of them here!" 

Submitted by Sara Corder, host mom

Kentwood, Michigan

Hosting Irene Chian-ai Lin from Taiwan and Jade Masoye from France 


Heather Moreland

"We are thankful for the bond between sisters! Anna quickly became a part of our family, and we're so grateful for the joy and laughter that she brings."

Submitted by Heather Moreland, host mom

Millerstown, Pennsylvania

Hosting Anna Amosso Gaspare, Italy


Margaret Drury

"Laughter is like medicine, it does the heart good."  We are all thankful to be able to make the world a smaller place through humor and just spending time with and learning about each other.

Submitted by Maggie Drury, host mom

Aurora, Indiana

Hosting Laura Castor, Spain


ana ruiz"I’m so glad with the family I had, I have a family in another country and I have my sisters, I will always rely on them.❤️ In my picture you can see my little sister Eve (yellow blouse), my middle sister is tatum (maroon blouse) and my twin Chey (wearing the brown dress, we were literally born the same day). I love them all.

Thank you ICES to make my dreams come true and for your good work at choosing THE family for me!"
Submitted by Ana Ruiz Grijalba, Spain
Living in Lake Village, Indiana


Laura Martínez"They are my host siblings, I'm very grateful for them and my whole host family for treating me since day one like an other family member. The first day that I arrived my host mum said   "This is going to be your home forever" and that made me so happy. My host siblings are very cute and I feel that they have me like an example to follow.It is exiting lisening to my little host sister saying that see wants to do things that I had been involved this year. "

Submitted by Laura Martínez, Spain

Living in Manitwoc, Wisconsin


Rebekka Seyer"Im thankful for my host family for so many reasons, but probably mainly because of how openly they welcomed me. They made my dream of living here in the US come true and since I’m here we already experienced so many different things, laughed and joked, I learned a lot from them and we just in general had such a good time! I’m looking forward to the next 6 months and all the new experiences and challenges expecting me there, but it’s good to know that my host family is always gonna have my back."

Submitted by Rebekka Seyer, Germany

Living in Charleston, West Virginia

So Much Love!

There were far too many photos for us to share them all, but we can't resist showing you just a few more. . .

Collage 4


A big thank you to all our students and host families who submitted photos.  We are genuinely sorry that we don't have space to share every single one, but rest assured we looked at each one, enjoyed each one, and please know beyond a doubt that we are thankful for YOU! 

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!

Tags: Host Families, Host an exchange student, Student Experience, Photo Contest, Gratitude in the USA

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