We love stories from real life host families! Enjoy this interview with the Innes family, who have been a blessing to our program 3 times over!
You have hosted three times. What was it that made your family decide to host?
Two things: we had had au pairs for a couple of years and myself and the boys are dual citizens of Switzerland and the US.Having the au pairs got us used to having other people in the house and we cam e to appreciate that their were other people interacting with our boys and teaching them about the world. The boys were 6 & 7 at the beginning. So, it was like having older brothers around.
Did the age difference between your boys and your exchange student pose a problem or prevent them from having a relationship?
The boys we had as exchange students were very tolerant of two active younger boys. We felt the age difference was beneficial. Less likely to have conflicts with friends and peer groups. Plus, we got a dry run having teenage boys around the house.
What did you find the most surprising between younger boys and teens? The amount of food that they eat!!😁
We did renew our Costco membership a week after the first boy arrived. The big stores were an eye opener. Plus, Jonathon loved orange juice, so we went from organic to large containers to frozen concentrate over a couple of weeks since he was drinking so much.
Was it ever difficult for your own kids to share your attention?
The kids liked having them around, playing together. If anything it was a benefit for my wife and I since someone else could absorb the attention of the boys.
Thinking about your three exchange experiences is there a memory that sticks out as your favorite?
Probably some of the vacations. We had Germans and Austrians, so having older boys who would ski black diamonds with me was nice!
We have many families and individuals that are with us today that are considering hosting a student for the first time. What piece of advice would you give them?
That they need to be committed to incorporating them into the family. You are taking on someone else’s child so it is a commitment.
What was the most rewarding part of hosting?
The exchange students, Jonathon, Daniel and Elias all grew, matured and had a great experience. It does take some independence to do an exchange but the growth is on top of that. It is rewarding.