Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Host An Exchange Student!

Ok. It's been over a month since we posted. We just returned from a wonderful trip to Texas where we spent time with family. We'll post about that soon (I hope!).  In the meantime, for all of you who have adopted (and for whoever else reads this blog on occasion), I wanted to make a plug for hosting an exchange student.

For those of you who have followed our adoption adventures on this blog, you know that we hosted a Russian young lady named Nadya during the 2010-11 school year.  It was a great experience!  I would highly recommend it.  When Nadya returned home after 10 months in our home, Clarion and I both agreed that we would host again. We didn't do it this past school year because we were bringing Andrei home from Russia, but we have decided to host again for the upcoming school year.  We have another great student, Olga, coming from Russia.  We've been in touch with her through e-mail, Facebook and Skype.  We can't wait for her to arrive on August 8.

Both Nadya and Olga came to us through the FLEX program of American Councils for International Education.  This is an excellent organization.  We've enjoyed the contacts we've had from the organization both from the national office in Washington DC as well as with the local coordinator who lives about a half hour from us.  We've also come to know other students from American Councils in the FLEX and other programs.  These are top notch young men and women!

We continue to choose students from Russia as to maintain a connection to our our sons' native culture.  Nadya taught our two older boys some Russian (since they pretty much lost their native language).  She cooked Russian foods.  It was just a great joy having her with us.  I even got to visit with her in Moscow while we were there waiting to get Andrei's visa.  We still keep in touch regularly and have yet another friend to visit someday when we go to Russia for a visit.

Aside from another person at your table and to take around in your car, there really are no other expenses to speak of.  Our local public high school continues to wave any kinds of fees for the exchange students.  The students get a monthly stipend from American Councils which they are to use for supplies and spending money.  I'm sure we spent a fair amount of money on Nadya, but it to us, it felt like she was one of our kids and we thought nothing of it.

I guess this is really a plea for you to consider hosting.  I did a post like this about a year ago when Nadya left and a few people contacted me.  I hope you'll consider hosting.  I think there's even still time to host this next school year.  If you are interested or have more questions, send us an e-mail, and we'd be happy to respond.


Joel, Clarion & The Boys