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Host-Family Rules for Exchange Students

Norma, 2007

Norma, 2007

This is our Host-Family Rules for exchange students. Actually, it is more like a survival manual for living in our home. Our host-family rules began ten years ago as a two page document, but each exchange student has left her mark on the rules with an added paragraph here and there…the girls laugh because they know exactly for which parts they are responsible. The length has also grown since AYUSA began requiring certain things to be included, particularly in the area of internet use and safety. Continue reading

Realities of the Exchange Student Experience

shadi-with-halloween-tatoo1

If you are considering being an exchange student or hosting an exchange student, you may have gone to the internet to gain insight and information. Unfortunately, what you will mostly find from this resource is one-sided perspectives rather than realities of the exchange student experience.

Why is this the case? Continue reading

New Pictures from Irina

Irina, 2009

Irina, 2009

Irina sent me some new pictures. She was an exchange student in 1999-200, was our third exchange daughter, and currently lives in Minsk, Belarus. Irina is living The Devil Wears Prada lifestyle…next week she will traveling to Milan, Italy. Continue reading

Advice for the Host Family

Norma at Dallas Blooms, Texas, 2007

Norma at Dallas Blooms, Texas, 2007

I hope you found this post because you are thinking about being a host family for a foreign exchange student. I wrote a post earlier offering advice to students thinking about becoming an exchange student and I wanted to balance it with a post directed toward potential host families. Continue reading

Advice for Exchange Students

Shadi, Texas State Fair, 2007

Shadi, Texas State Fair, 2007

We have had one unsuccessful exchange student. I’ll call her Julia. This picture is not of Julia but of Shadi who came the fall after Julia’s departure.

Julia did not even make it to the end of October. I wouldn’t classify her exchange as an exchange student horror or nightmare, but I will say it was a horrible time for myself, my wife, and for undoubtedly for Julia.  I still have a tinge of remorse that we could not save Julia’s exchange, but I am also confident, with six successful exchange students passing through our home, that we and our organization did as much as anyone could to salvage her year. Continue reading

Update on Kate

Kate and the Aurora, Moscow, Russian Federation, 2008

Kate and the Aurora, Moscow, Russian Federation, 2008

For anyone keeping track of Kate, she will be making a big trip soon. This time it will not be on a train from St. Petersburg with a cabin full of crazy Italians but on a plane back to the United States.

Kate has her interview with the United States Consulate on January 14th, just two weeks from today. Assuming that everything goes to plan, it will take a few days after that for her to receive her new visa. Then she will have a couple of weeks to close out her work in Moscow and allow enough time for her mother to come see her off.

So, Kate should be back in Texas sometime in the first half of February. She will return to her husband Mike, a new position with the same firm she worked with in Moscow, and a newly renovated condo…Way to Go, Mike!

Wurstfest: German Food and Texas Fun

Wurstfest, 2008

Marketplatz, Wurstfest, New Braunfels, Texas, 2008

Wurstfest is the Texas version of Oktoberfest that is held in New Braunfels, Texas each year during the first week of November. Olga, Asya, Irina, and Kate all attended the festival with us. It’s a fun place for an exchange student to absorb a little Texas culture. The two Muslim girls did not attend because Continue reading