What makes a family decide to host a student? And…what makes that family decide to host again? We talked to two iE families to find out! (They have hosted 28 students between them! Wow!)

We interviewed Glen and Donna Blazer of Tennessee. The Blazers have hosted an impressive total of 21 students from 14 different countries! We wanted to know…what makes you keep going? Here’s what they had to share:

Why did you first start hosting?

We hosted when my daughter was 8, and she always wanted to host again during her senior year. In 2005, both my son and daughter were killed in a car accident. I decided to host two students – a boy and a girl – in honor of their memory. Those students brought blessing to our house. They got me through some hard times.

What inspires you to host year after year?

We see how much it helps them. You see them mature so much in that year, and we are a part of that.

What advice would you give other host families?

Communication is key. Make sure your students understand what you expect up front.


Karl and Mary Fox in Michigan have also found joy in hosting multiple times. In fact, this impressive couple has hosted 7 girls over consecutive years! They shared their insights from these experiences and encouraged others to open their hearts and homes as well.

What would you say to others considering hosting?

Don’t be afraid of it – embrace it. Open your heart.

What advice would you give current hosts?

Use your coordinator. They can help you come up with better solutions.

Do you have a favorite memory?

My best memory was of a German girl, Vivian. She took pictures all year. I don’t care what you looked like, what you were doing, she was taking pictures of it! Before she left, she hid pictures around the house. So we would open a drawer, and there’d be a picture; we’d take out a towel, and there was another picture! It was a sweet way for her to say goodbye.

What do you think you have gained as a host parent?

What they give you is so much more than what you give them. They’re so loving and so ready to be part of your family. Every time you turn around, they’re giving you something – attention, participation, when they see you at school running up and giving you a hug.

Vivien with Fox and Emily