What do you do when you can’t decide who to host? You host TWO students! We asked the Robbins family to tell us about their year hosting a boy from Germany and a girl from China, and we just had to share it with you! It is stories like these that fuel our passion!

My name is Kreena Robbins and I am married with 2 kids. My 16 year old son Mason lives at home, and my 19 year old daughter Dakota moved to LA to go to school.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]My words of advice for all those looking to be a host: DO IT![/perfectpullquote]

I learned about International Experience while talking with a friend who was super excited because she just found out she was going to have a girl from Germany coming for the school year. I immediately wanted to learn more! I wanted a girl to fill the void left by my daughter, and it helped that we had a readily available teenage girl’s room! However my son wanted to have “the brother he never had.”

After hearing we were able to host TWO kids, we decided: WHY NOT!

We got connected with Lukas from Germany and Izzy from China. We immediately started getting another room ready and were very anxious to meet them!  I started reaching out to them so our first “hello” wouldn’t be hard.  I felt like I knew them before I even saw them.

I was never more excited!!!

Kreena with kids

[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]I knew I was going to give them an experience of a lifetime, but I never imagined the experience I was in for![/perfectpullquote]

I knew I was going to give them an experience of a lifetime, but I never imagined the experience I was in for!

On a daily basis, we compared our different cultures and continents.  We would pick a word and learn it in German, Chinese, Spanish & French. We all cooked for each other, learning about the different foods. Izzy, who was an only child, now quickly had 2 brothers and a distant sister. We all grew quickly into a family.

Holidays were even more exciting! Americans tend to go crazy with holidays, but I went to the extreme.  Our month of December was one huge Advent Calendar. Every morning there was a bag to open with an American Christmas tradition that we had to experience that day or night after school. Christmas caroling, gingerbread houses, watching Christmas movies, donating time ringing the Salvation Army bell, horse & carriage ride, cutting down a Christmas tree at Williams Tree Farm, wearing our PJs in the car while driving around looking at Christmas lights, and the list goes on and on.  Every day from December 1st until Christmas morning was a rush to see who gets to open the next bag!

I will never forget that month, nor will I ever have a more meaningful Christmas again in my lifetime!

Kreena elf pic

I truly fell in love with these kids and they will always be a part of my life, but one thing I was not prepared for was having to say goodbye.  I think about them every day.

My words of advice for all those looking to be a host: DO IT! it truly is an experience of a lifetime.

Think of this child coming into your home as your own child. Imagine sending your son or daughter over to foreign country to live with a family they have never met, and treat them like you would want a family to treat your child.

My family grew from 2 kids to 4 this school year….and for that, I am forever grateful!

Kreena water fountain