They say reality is stranger than fiction, and student exchange is no exception! Want to laugh harder than you ever have in your life? Host an exchange student!

We love the funny stories we collect from host families over the years, and today we want to share one of our favorites from host mom Jennifer Talley!

I have hosted 12 times. One of the funniest memories happened when we were hosting a young lady named Lena from Germany.


It was her FIRST day here, and she had told us she had never seen the ocean before, so off we went to the beach! On the way, we stopped at a local CVS drugstore. Lena went in and had a small cloth bag with her. I didn’t think a thing about it and just started my shopping, and she went to get some items she needed. It was only a few minutes later when I turned the corner into the shampoo isle and I could see a CVS employee marching toward Lena – who was crouched down and putting items in her bag from the bottom shelf!

I immediately knew the employee thought she was shoplifting. You see … we had spent some time years ago in Germany and learned that you bring your own bags to shop with! Well, obviously this CVS employee has never been to Germany!

Even though I tried to explain she was an exchange student and that this was customary in her country, the CVS employee was not buying it. She escorted us to the front and asked for us to pay for our items and leave. I looked at Lena and said as we walked out the door,

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Try not to get arrested your first day in American, OK?”[/perfectpullquote]

It was obviously scary at the time, but we have laughed about it many times since then!