Meet the Hardin Family from Indiana!
Above: The Hardin family with their host daughter Jenny from Italy and two other CIEE exchange students on a family vacation to Las Vegas.
CIEE: How did you first decide to Host with CIEE, and how long have you been a host family?
Hardin Family: We have been a host family for two years. Although we have always been interested in other cultures, our original contact with CIEE was when we found out that some CIEE students were coming [and needed host families]. We saw this as a wonderful opportunity.
CIEE: What do you enjoy most about hosting CIEE students?
Hardin Family: We so enjoy introducing the students to America. We like to share in their learning about the American language, its cultures, and its traditions as well as sharing their joy in discovering American history, sightseeing its many marvels, observing natural wonders, and touring its cities. We also look forward to getting to know other exchange students through CIEE, and learning about their respective countries, cultures, histories, and traditions. Through get-togethers, trips and the kids hanging out together we often get to know several exchange students very well. They are eager, bright, and fun to be around.
CIEE: What do you like to do with your student?
Hardin Family: Daily life is so much more interesting with an exchange student. Things that are mundane or repetitive suddenly have a new twist or angle. We also like to travel with our exchange students. It is just marvelous to share in their new discoveries!
CIEE: What was one of your favorite memories from hosting?
Hardin Family: Picking one memory is so difficult because we have had so many with our student as well as other exchange students. From picking the student up at the airport, meeting them for the first time, and experiencing with them their first impressions of America to holidays, birthdays, vacations, school experiences and then sending them home on a plane to their natural parents, the whole time is like an exciting odyssey! That said, one recent and fantastic memory was made when Jenny's family from Italy came to visit us. This included her mother, her grandmother and cousin. They wanted to make us lasagna, REAL lasagna, making the pasta from scratch, explaining how it is done, and visiting with us all afternoon. It was an amazing and unforgettable experience!
CIEE: What would you say your student likes best about their experience so far?
Hardin Family: I think that the students enjoy living with their host families and learning the differences between the cultures. Sightseeing is also a highlight, whether near or far, there is always something new to learn and experience.