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YFU Blog - Recent stories about Youth for Understanding

Filtering by Tag: Host Parent

An Exchange Experience


For those families who have considered an exchange opportunity, do it! You will quickly realize the world is smaller than you think and that we are more similar than different from one another. Hosting a student is an opportunity you won’t regret with life-long memories made for everyone involved.

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My YFU Experience: Kylie Neidich


Interview by YFU Alumnus and Campus Ambassador Ronak Gandhi with YFU Field Director, Host Mother & Area Representative Kylie Neidich

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I Like Exchange Students


Reblogged guest post from YFU Host Mom AprilThree years ago about this time Steve & I made the decision to host our very first exchange student. It was a little scary and exciting all at the same time considering it had been just us two since we tied the knot over 10 years ago. Now we are happy to say our little international family consists of three lovely European daughters… TessaJule and Iitu.

It’s been over a month since Iitu returned home to Finland and her exit was definitely not without tears… but it didn’t start out that way. Iitu was the first girl we hosted that let us know being an exchange student wasn’t necessarily her idea. This made me a little nervous about our upcoming year together, but it wasn’t long until she stole our hearts with her silliness, seriousness and her full rainbow of other characteristics in-between.

So when it came to creating a going-away gift, this quote leaped off my Pinterest page. I’m all for carefully plotting out safe and secure plans, but sometimes when a wise person suggests you make a right turn down a road you’ve never been on before… that’s often when your trip gets more interesting… more rewarding… more rich… more memorable.

That’s why I like exchange students.  What do you like?

You don’t need to have teenagers live with you for 10 months to make that right turn (but if that does interest you… check out YFU).  This inspiring book and website is jam packed with loads of simple stories that change the direction of your normal routine. A quote from the book reads, “When we choose to give, we change, and the people around us change. When we move from awareness to action, miracles happen. When we allow giving to be our idea, a world of possibilities opens up before us, and we discover new levels of joy.”

And I definitely can attest to that. This summer, both of our German daughters came to visit and I enjoyed some fantastic times I would have never experienced if they were not here.

I know I’m in the business of selling gifts, but I’ve found that often giving is one of the best gifts you can receive.

Bruce Erickson – Host Father – Missouri


With the World Cup kicking-off this week, we wanted to share a story from one of our longtime host father's. Have you shared in the excitement of a World Cup game with an international son/daughter, host parent or sibling? We want to hear your story!

For my generation, I'm an unusual American in that I am a huge soccer fan. As such, I have always dreamed of attending an important high-level soccer competition with a great stadium atmosphere. I have been a host dad since 1999. All of my exchange sons have shared my interest in "the beautiful game." The World Cup was held in Germany in 2006. The families of four of my German students invited me to visit them and attend five World Cup games in Hamburg, Berlin and Leipzig.



I had been to Europe a couple of times with tour groups, but to have personal tour guides in the form of former students and their natural parents and friends made the experience extra special. Sharing their culture with me through their warmth and hospitality are experiences that I will never forget. Even though I did not get to see any of the American national team games, My dream of seeing quality soccer with passionate fans had been realized thanks to very generous and grateful natural parents and former students.