Did you know hosting while retired is actually a great idea?
We asked Dave Long, a 72 year old Vietnam veteran and Bronze Star recipient, and IE-USA host parent about his experiences.
[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]My wife and I wanted to travel the world, but we both worked full time, so we brought the world to us![/perfectpullquote]
Dave said he and his wife started hosting exchange students in 1982. “My wife and I wanted to travel the world, but we both worked full time,” remembers Dave. “So, we brought the world to us!”
Dave’s own children grew up side-by-side with exchange students, who remain a part of the family to this day. When Dave’s wife Catherine passed away after battling breast cancer in 2006, he made the intentional decision to continue hosting in her honor.
Though his world was shaken by such a great loss, Dave received encouragement from the exchange student he was hosting to continue his role as a host parent. “Dad, if I hadn’t been here this year, you would have been all alone,” observed his host son. His advice? Keep hosting. “They (exchange students) will keep you young.”
Dave has already hosted over 3 dozen students from all over the world, and he says he will continue to host as long as he is still active. “The kids keep me moving,” he says. “It’s surprising how active I can be when I have a kid around!” He is pictured above with two of his former students: Mats from Germany and Pakanunt from Thailand.
[perfectpullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”#82A31D” class=”” size=””]Retirement is the perfect time to host! I have time to spend with them, and they can go pretty much anywhere they want, because I have time to take them.[/perfectpullquote]
Though some might assume retirement is the time to kick back and slow down, Dave wholeheartedly disagrees. “Retirement is the perfect time to host,” he says. “I have time to spend with them, and they can go pretty much anywhere they want, because I have time to take them.” Because students come with their own spending money and insurance, Dave hasn’t found them to be a significant financial burden, even in retirement.
Ready to start (or continue) your own extended family? Let us know!