Ten years ago we were asked to “try out” hosting so we agreed to a short term commitment. Within days it was apparent to my husband, son, daughter and myself that this was an amazing experience and so we welcomed our first international son Bruno from Brazil. Seven years later we added his little brother Caio to our American family. At the end of the program his mother Claudia and his father Oswaldo came to personally thank us for investing in their sons and ultimately their lives. We are making plans to visit Brazil in the future so our circle can be complete. WE are still very connected via Skype, face time, email, Facebook and Instagram with the family. Although your hosting experience may be 4-6 weeks as a welcome family, 5 months or 10 months the memories and relationships last forever. Holidays and special days I often receive notes from my international sons/daughter and or their parents. It is more heartwarming than I can express.
As hosts you are told you will impact a young persons life which is true but nothing prepares you for the greatest blessing that you and your family receive. You grow your family even if it is half way around the world. Since Bruno we have had the privilege to be mom and dad and a family to three other Brazilians, 3 Germans, 1 Spanish, 1 Italian, 1 Kazakhstan, and one daughter from Denmark. Each has made an imprint on our hearts.
As an empty-nester my husband and I enjoy hosting two students now so they can be each others sibling plus we learn about two countries/cultures in the same year. At this time in the world where peace is seen seldom this is a great opportunity to truly promote global peace and understanding. By living together we learn why cultures are different and learn to appreciate those differences. It is so awesome to have an impact on how a young person views Americans and then when they return they diffuse any false stereotypes and speak highly of Americans and our way of life.
People who know me personally know that I am very passionate about hosting. I believe I am a much better person because we said yes. I would strongly encourage anyone who is slightly interested to “try it out” and you will not be sorry.
Pam Mull, CETUSA Host Family