First time host family
Sawatdee kaa! (Hello in Thai!)
After getting over the initial fears about hosting, and with our daughter begging us to do so, our family decided to sign up as a YFU host family. We first meet with our Area Rep (Rob), who set our minds at ease and answered all of our questions.
Our exchange student arrived on August 24th from Bangkok, Thailand. We knew she would be tired as she had been flying all day and night to get to us. We were waiting with a poster, balloons and a stuffed animal in hand. There were a lot of emotions going on… would she recognize us right away? Would we recognize her right away? We were nervous, excited, happy…
Chaya walked off the plane and was greeted with a big hug by our daughter Hayley. That hug is one of my favorite pictures! It was like they had known each other for years! They had formed a bond over the internet as sisters and were so glad to finally meet each other face to face. I thought the language barrier might be hard for all of us but the more we got to know each other, the easier it was to communicate.
After a couple days of resting, getting unpacked and registering for school, Chaya really began to open up and join in family conversations. We learned a lot about her culture and shared some of ours with her as well. We try to learn as many Thai words as we can – it’s always a fun conversation to have around the dinner table for all of us.
Chaya has truly become a part of our family and we can’t imagine what we would have missed out on had we not taken this leap with YFU. We never expected to bond so quickly, but she is making this experience so easy for us. She is such a joy to have in our home and we look forward to showing her as much of the Midwest as we can. Youth For Understanding is a great program and has many resources available for families with the same nerves and questions as we once did. We are so blessed to have Chaya as part of our family and look forward to a year full of new adventures and cultural learning experiences for the wholefamily.
Frank, Lisa, Hayley and Chaya Iowa
Would you like to share your YFU Story? Please submit your stories and pictures!