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12 posts categorized "Host Family Spotlight"

December Host Family of the Month: the Holloways

Meet the Holloway Family from Kansas!

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Above: The Holloway family with their current exchange student Gaby, from Ecuador (lower left)

CIEE: How did you first decide to Host with CIEE, and how long have you been a host family?

Holloway Family: We have been a host family for five years.  I had a good friend when I was in high school who was an exchange student from Spain, and I have always thought it would be interesting to host a student when my kids were in high school.  I knew my CIEE local coordinator through my son's high school (our sons played soccer together) and signed up when she was seeking new host families. 

CIEE: What do you enjoy most about hosting CIEE students?

Holloway Family: We enjoy sharing the American culture with them and seeing it through their eyes; and have also learned so much about their cultures, especially the small things one would never normally hear about.   

CIEE: What do you like to do with your student?

Holloway Family: Trying to cook their native food with them has been very interesting; especially when we were learning the regional Thai dishes that had some very unique ingredients. We also have had great fun learning about and enjoying different school activities that our own children never pursued, like the swim team and marching band.  Our family is very active in 4H, specifically with the Dog Training project.  Three of our students have joined 4H and learned how to take care of and train dogs.  One entered a local 4H Judged Dog show, and because of her hard work and dedication, won Grand Champion Senior Showmanship (over several senior level, seasoned 4H competitors). 

Mook Showmanship Champ 2015

Above: Mook, from Thailand, won 4H Grand Champion Senior Showmanship

CIEE: What was one of your favorite memories from hosting?

Holloway Family: Probably one of my favorite memories I have is a trip I bravely took with 3 teenagers (my 2 children and our student from Norway) to the West Coast.  We experienced San Francisco, Yosemite, and a few days on the Pacific Coast beaches and learned so much during that time. Everyone got along great and really embraced the experience; there wasn't a moment of bickering or sulking despite being crammed together in a car and hotel room for 10 days straight, I don't think I have laughed so much in my life.

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Above: The Holloway’s son and daughter with exchange student Catherine, from Norway, at Yosemite National Park.

CIEE: What would you say your student likes best about their experience so far?

Holloway Family: Each of our students has had a different experience during their stay in the United States, but I think all of them would agree that they like the friendly kids at our high school and the various activities unique to American high schools.  Our students have always joined a sport or club, which facilitates fast friends and quick inclusion into the high school student body.  One of our students made such fast friends that he was voted to be Homecoming King within 6 weeks of starting school!

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Above: Marino, from Germany, was crowned homecoming king

 

 

November Host Family of the Month: The Cornil's

Meet the Cornils family from Wisconsin!

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Above: The Cornils family with their exchange student, Rayan from Lebanon (lower left)

CIEE: How did you first decide to Host with CIEE, and how long have you been a host family?

Cornils Family: We heard about hosting on an online post through Facebook.  My husband and I had previously done foster care and so we had talked about hosting a student someday when we heard a radio show with someone talking about it.  We have been a host family for 2 years.

CIEE: What do you enjoy most about hosting CIEE students?

Cornils Family: We love learning about new cultures! The students that we have hosted are like our own children. We become very attached and form lifelong connections.

CIEE: What do you like to do with your student?

Cornils Family: We live our lives normally and share everyday life and experiences with our students.  Part of the becoming close with your student and learning more about them is to include them in your everyday life. Things such as grocery shopping or going to local parades that seem mundane to you, are new for your student.  Communication is a huge part of hosting. We talk to our student every day about the little things and the big things.  We don't go a day without talking and asking each other about our days and sharing our experiences. No matter how long your student is with you, you still learn something new all the time!

CIEE: What was one of your favorite memories from hosting?

Cornils Family: Last year we were able to take our exchange daughter, Sikyung who is from South Korea, on a family cruise to the Bahamas. She had never experienced a family vacation quite like this.  We made some awesome memories and it is something that none of us will ever forget. 

 CIEE: What would you say your student likes best about their experience so far?

Cornils Family: Our current exchange son, Rayan, has really enjoyed meeting new people from all over the world.  He loves learning new things and experiencing our culture.  He also mentioned that his host family is pretty cool as well. ;)

SEPTEMBER HOST FAMILY OF THE MONTH - MEET THE SINDELARS!

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Above: The Sindelar Family at Disney World in Orlando, Florida

 

CIEE: How did you first decide to Host with CIEE, and how long have you been a host family?

Sindelar Family: This is our first year hosting with CIEE and we made our decision by checking with various agencies throughout the area and looking into their reputations as an Exchange Student Agency within our community.   We saw an ad on a local website and decided to call the area LC about it.  Vicki Kincaid, who is our LC, then walked us through the whole process. Vicki took weeks of her time searching to find the right match for our family and, most importantly, for the student.  Vicki truly cares about the students and their well-being.  She devotes long days and nights into assuring that the families are elated with their students.  I recall one night that we were talking until 11 p.m. trying to look at student host letters in determining the right student for us.  I knew from the daily phone calls and multiple host letters that we read that a person that cares this much for her students must be the right fit for us and the perfect agency to find our new daughter. 

CIEE: What do you enjoy most about hosting CIEE students?

Sindelar Family: The best thing about having our CIEE student is that we are able to learn and appreciate a new culture while gaining a new daughter in the process. Our new daughter, Nuttika, is a respectful, kind and loving teenager who amazes us every day, not only with her academic work but she dances beautifully and plays the piano like a concert pianist. Just in this short time we have grown to love her and she is a beautiful addition to our family.

CIEE: What do you like to do with your student?

Sindelar Family: In August we were able to make one of her dreams come true by taking her to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.   In our free time we love to take her to Busch Gardens, on camping trips, to museums, bowling, movies and going out to eat.  Her new favorite restaurant is Steak 'n Shake.  It is such a joy to see the appreciation that she has for every little thing we do for her.

CIEE: What was one of your favorite memories from hosting?

Sindelar Family: Our favorite memory from this year so far was the look on Nuttika's face when we arrived at Universal Studios and how ecstatic and grateful she was.  After all, what this is all about is the children and making them not only a part of a caring and loving family but the amazing memories that we are able to make with a new family member that we will treasure forever. 

 CIEE: What would you say your student likes best about their experience so far?

Sindelar Family: I think Nuttika likes the experience of having many siblings especially two sisters and all the fun activities that we are able to share as a family. We are so blessed to be apart of such a wonderful agency!  CIEE is a caring organization who puts the students first.  We will definitely host again with CIEE and we tell people daily about what a joy it is to host an Exchange Student and be part of making a young person’s dreams a reality.

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Above: The Sindelar Family at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

JUNE HOST FAMILIES OF THE MONTH

Meet the Greenwood Family from Texas!

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Above: Mrs. Greenwood with her sons and two exchange students: Kamil from Poland and Praem from Thailand!

CIEE: How did you first decide to Host with CIEE, and how long have you been a host family?

Greenwood Family: My husband and I had talked occasionally about hosting a family over the past few years, so when I saw Debbie's post on Facebook about the opportunity, I emailed her and we were hosting two boys weeks later. We have been a host family for 9 months. 

CIEE: What do you enjoy most about hosting CIEE students?

Greenwood Family: We are the type of family that always has extra people over at the house. We love people and the more the variety, the better. We love to teach our boys about tolerance and we feel this was a great way to do that. This year has taught US more about tolerance. We love seeing the interaction between our boys and the students. 

CIEE: What do you like to do with your student?

Greenwood Family: The most fun we've had with the students has been traveling this year. We loved showing them different parts of the US and Grand Cayman. We went to a lot of sports games with them this year and to our lake house in East Texas.

CIEE: What was one of your favorite memories from hosting?

Greenwood Family: One of my favorite memories of the boys this year was Halloween and watching them participate and dress up. Prame was a banana and Kamil was a puffy guy and they were so happy and having a great time. I loved all of the memories we shared by involving them in our traditions, like Halloween, Christmas and Easter. 

 CIEE: What would you say your student likes best about their experience so far?

Greenwood Family: I think they were very grateful that they came here having a host brother in the family their age (Donovan). They both had instant friends through him and have done a lot together. 

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Above: The Greenwood family 

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Meet the Friday-Jackson Family from Oklahoma!

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Above: The Friday-Jackson family with their current exchange student (Leon from Germany) at Eskimo Joe’s!

CIEE: How did you first decide to Host with CIEE, and how long have you been a host family?

Friday-Jackson Family: Billy and I (Michael) met Anita Akin (LC) at a local festival where she was promoting the exchange program.  When she asked if we would be interested in hosting, the immediate answer was yes!  Billy and I have always wanted to have a family (kids), but traditional approaches have not been successful.  This year was our first experience hosting an exchange student, Leon, from Germany.

CIEE: What do you enjoy most about hosting CIEE students?

Friday-Jackson Family: We never raised any kids, so we asked Anita (LC) what do we do? She said, treat him like he was your own! That’s what we did and what we enjoy most.  We get up with him in the morning, pack his lunch, and get him to the bus stop.  We attend most of the games Leon played in both football and soccer.  Billy attended Parent/Teacher meetings and picked Leon up from practices. I helped Leon with his assignments and homework.  We love watching movies together and solving “Wheel of Fortune” puzzles. We loved having a son, if only for 10 months!

CIEE: What do you like to do with your student?

Friday-Jackson Family: We love to travel!  This year we have traveled to Michigan for a family reunion, toured New Mexico & Arizona, plus a couple of weekend trips to Dallas and Wichita. We also enjoy eating out: Leon loves the Cheese Fries at Eskimo Joe’s in Stillwater, Oklahoma (picture attached)!

CIEE: What was one of your favorite memories from hosting?

Friday-Jackson Family: Our exchange student went to the Bahamas with us. We all enjoyed the family vacation. During our tour of the west, we spent part of one day at the south rim of the Grand Canyon (picture attached).  If was a perfect day: cool and clear! After walking around the south rim, we ate lunch at the El Tovar restaurant in the historic Grand Canyon Lodge.  It was such a perfect moment that we called Leon’s family in Germany to share the moment.

CIEE: What would you say your student likes best about their experience so far?

Friday-Jackson Family: I believe Leon has enjoyed experiencing life as an “American”.  He lived as a part of an “American” family.  Attended a rural “American” High School.  Played “American” football.  Made lifelong “American” friends.  What I think Leon likes best is knowing he has a family in Noble Oklahoma that will ALWAYS be a part of his life!

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Above: Billy with exchange student Leon at the Grand Canyon.

MAY HOST FAMILY OF THE MONTH

Meet the Hardin Family from Indiana!

 
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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.  

MAY HOST FAMILY OF THE MONTH

Meet the Wright Family from Indiana!

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Above: The Wright family with their current exchange student Cornelia from Sweden!

CIEE: How did you first decide to Host with CIEE, and how long have you been a host family?

Wright Family: We knew families that had hosted and enjoyed and we had been thinking about it. Our local coordinator contacted me and asked if we would host because there was a student that needed a family; we decided to take the given opportunity.

CIEE: What do you enjoy most about hosting CIEE students?

Wright Family: The opportunity to learn of different cultures and the experience that the kids have while here, and seeing our daughters bond with the student.

CIEE: What do you like to do with your student?

Wright Family: We enjoy traveling with them and taking them to different places to eat and try new foods.

CIEE: What was one of your favorite memories from hosting?

Wright Family: Our exchange student went to the Bahamas with us. We all enjoyed the family vacation.

 CIEE: What would you say your student likes best about their experience so far?

Wright Family: The food and just being able to travel to the different places with the family and the friends she has made.

Host Family of the Month

Meet the Herold-Ordaz Family from Illinois!

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Above: The Herold-Ordaz’s with their two exchange sons from the Czech Republic and Spain.

CIEE: How did you first decide to Host with CIEE, and how long have you been a host family?

Herold-Ordaz Family: Someone sent me an email regarding CIEE and we decided to host in order to get involved with our local schools (and, selfishly, I wanted someone to go with me on rides at Disney World). We have hosted students since 2009, now hosting our 6th and 7th students, expecting our 8th in August.

CIEE: What do you enjoy most about hosting CIEE students?

Herold-Ordaz Family: Our students give us an opportunity to experience and share all the positive aspects of a struggling urban school district. Our involvement with teachers, staff, and athletics have completely changed our opinion of our schools.

CIEE: What do you like to do with your student?

Herold-Ordaz Family: We enjoy the opportunity to help with homework including books we read in high school and get new perspectives on American studies.

CIEE: What was one of your favorite memories from hosting?

Herold-Ordaz Family: The memories we hold most dear, are the goodbyes, when they go home at the end of the school year. While painful goodbyes are not happy memories, the tears and genuine affection are evidence of the positive experience that we and our “children” have shared in the short 9 month period. Furthermore, we are encouraged and comforted knowing we continue to enhance our relationships through social media including Skype and the occasional personal visit to their home country and families.

 CIEE: What would you say your student likes best about their experience so far?

Herold-Ordaz Family: I think our “children” enjoy new foods prepared by their host family on a regular basis. In addition, travels to new cities in America such as Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, PA and Chicago are always high points. 

Host Family of the Month

Meet the Friberg Family from Washington!

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Above: The Friberg's with their two exchange daughters from Japan and Thailand enjoying the outdoors!

CIEE: How did you first decide to Host with CIEE, and how long have you been a host family?

Friberg Family: We decided to host in the fall of 2014 when we heard there was a need for student placements.  We had been host parents several years ago with another company and enjoyed that time with our exchange student and felt like we would like to host again.  We've not been sorry we made this decision to host our two girls. It's a fun experience.

CIEE: What do you enjoy most about hosting CIEE students?

Friberg Family: We enjoy several things about hosting CIEE students. Since our children are grown and gone, it is great to have young people in the home again. The students bring a youthful vitality and enthusiasm to our home and lives.  We enjoy the opportunities to include them in activities with our family and friends.   It has also been rewarding to be involved with their school sports activities. We've grown to really love our girls!

CIEE: What do you like to do with your student?

Friberg Family: We like to do a variety of things together. This year, we've gone to movies, professional basketball games, the symphony, excursions to Seattle, Mt. St Helens, Mt. Hood, and Idaho. We've played in the snow, done some hiking, and even took a spin on tandem bikes.  At home, we’ve played games, watched movies, and put puzzles together.  The girls are great to help out with the chores and have enjoyed cooking together. 

 CIEE: What was one of your favorite memories from hosting?

Friberg Family: We will treasure many memories from our year together. However, one of the highlights was sharing the Christmas holidays with the girls. Decorating the house and tree in preparation for Christmas was a lot of fun. It was neat to have them share in the celebration of the Season with our children and grandchildren. Our granddaughters fell in love with the girls and the girls responded to them as if they were their own nieces. 

 CIEE: What would you say your student likes best about their experience so far?

Friberg Family: When we asked the girls what their favorite experience was, they had a hard time narrowing it down to a single "best."  They have enjoyed playing in the snow and trips to Portland and Seattle (Portland, Oregon is about 30 minutes from where we live). They are excited about a spring break trip with us to New York and Washington DC.

6 tips for working through your family’s adjustment

 Hosting an exchange student can be exciting, educational, perplexing and sometimes challenging.  It is an adjustment, not just for the student but also for the host family.  Remember that you are not in this alone and are always welcome to call your Local Coordinator or CIEE Support Coordinator.  We wanted to share 6 tips that can help during the adjustment period.

  1. Communicate openly and honestly about how things are going.
  2. Don’t wait to address problems.  If you don’t know the best way to approach an issue, ask your Local Coordinator or Support Coordinator for assistance.  That is what we are here for!
  3. Don’t assume that your student will know or understand your family rules, chores or schedule  
  4. Remind everyone in your family to be forgiving with yourselves and with the student.  Mistakes and miscommunications happen.
  5. Keep a sense of humor and remember to laugh with your student (but not at your student)
  6. Do a little research on your own about your student’s country and culture.  It may help explain some of your student’s behaviors.  Be careful of stereotyping or drawing final conclusions, based on this research.  It should be used as a springboard to conversation. 

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All you need to know about tutoring

Have you noticed that your student is struggling with their English comprehension?  Have you noticed that your student is having a difficult time in one class?  Has a teacher or the school suggested that your student start tutoring or seek additional help with coursework?  If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it is possible your student needs a tutor.

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Per CIEE ‘s rules, your exchange student is required to maintain a C+ average in all classes during their exchange year.  If your student has a grade lower than C+ or is struggling in school, she/he may need to find a tutor.   

This process can seem overwhelming at first but do not panic and keep reading. The first step is to speak with your student and your Local Coordinator.  Together with the CIEE Support staff, a plan to help your student succeed in school can be formed.  Tutors are paid for by natural parents, but we often need your help in finding a tutor.  Here are some tips for finding tutors in your community:

  • Talk to your student’s Local Coordinator to check if he/she knows of local tutoring resources.
  • Talk to the school guidance counselor and teachers about tutoring options at the school.  Ask if before or after-school tutor groups exist or if a teacher/student in the school is willing to tutor.
  • Check with local universities and colleges to see if there are available tutors.
  • Look in local resources (newspapers, bulletin boards, etc.) to find tutors in the community.
  • Think of a friend or a neighbor who might be interested in tutoring.
  • Look at the CIEE Host Family website for student study tips: http://www.ciee.org/highschool/host-families/academics.html

Most importantly, remember that we are all working together to help your student succeed and have a successful exchange program.  It’s ok to ask for help!

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