[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Life became something to notice again instead of being routine.”[/perfectpullquote]
Charlotte Powell and her teenage daughters – Kiah (17) and Hailey (16) – opened their home to two exchange students in 2014/15. Lisa from Germany and “First” from Thailand slid right into life with the Powells, but Charlotte shared that true assimilation was never her goal. Instead, they learned to cherish each girls’ unique qualities and to see life through her eyes.

“We have learned so much about what it means to be human since being a host family.  People really are basically the same, and it’s our differences that make us interesting.  I loved learning about their cultures and traditions, and sharing mine made me remember why they were important to me in the first place! Life became something to notice again instead of being routine.  When you have to explain so much of what you do to someone else, you are given the chance to see it again like it’s the first time, and that is precious. We were careful to show the girls the American way we live, but to never expect them to assimilate.  We appreciated their differences and asked as many questions as we could to learn about them.”

The Powell family will be hosting another young lady from Montenegro in the fall of 2016, and they are already so excited to learn about a whole new place.

“It’s almost like adopting another child.  From the moment they arrive they are a part of our family and when they go back home to their countries, we cry and remind them they always have a home with us.”

It’s a phenomenon we see time and again in student exchange: while selflessly giving of their homes and hearts, a host family will often gain just as much as they give.