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641 S St NW Suite 200

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admissions@yfu.org

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Filtering by Tag: Hosting Exchange Students

Welcoming our First Exchange Student!

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My husband and I always wanted to be exchange students but the opportunity never really presented itself. One day while at our local YMCA we were presented the opportunity to host an exchange student. After about 45 minutes of chatting, we took the plunge & before too long we were looking at potential students to come live with us. 

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An Exchange Experience

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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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What Family Means to Me...

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Today is International Day of Families, and we wanted to share how one YFU Host Family has expanded because they opened their hearts and their home to an international student. If you'd like to share your story and traditions while discovering a new culture right in your own home, sign up to host with YFU today!

Guest post from YFU Host Mom, Karen Auxter.

Family means embracing others who share no blood, but who entrusted their child into your care.

It means broadening your horizons, learning about differences and realizing being different isn't a bad thing.

Family is finding out how much you are alike, even though you live on different continents and might only be able to communicate through smiles and hugs.

Family isn't always about sharing ancestors....sometimes it's just about sharing Love.

 We have been blessed to add an entire Danish branch to our family!

 When Sebastian's family was getting ready to fly here for graduation, his mom said, When Sebastian's family was getting ready to fly here for graduation, his mom said, "I can't wait to get to meet you!" That really threw me, because I felt like we were old friends from our communication through Facebook and talking some during Sebastian's calls home!

My YFU Experience: Kylie Neidich

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

Why do you believe that study abroad programs are not only beneficial, but also crucial for the youth of tomorrow?
I believe that our youth are often unaware of the cultural differences, how different every country is, and I think that studying abroad can help them further in life. It also looks great on college applications and applications for jobs because of that experience.

What was your motivation for volunteering and hosting with YFU?
I wanted my own children to learn about other cultures, while also getting to share our own. We love being able to share the kitchen with our students, as they teach us dishes from their own country. Believe it or not, I am the pickiest eater, but I have changed my eating habits due to my exchange students. When we moved to Texas we were the only family who hosted and I hated that our student couldn’t interact with others, so that got me more involved with volunteering. I’ve helped in planning events and in the growth and expansion of my field!

How has hosting a student impacted you and your family?
We have tasted food from other countries that we would have never been able to otherwise try, and my kids have been introduced to several languages including Thai, French, Swiss, and German! We gain so much through hosting. It truly is life changing.

Can you share some of the best memories and unexpected surprises from your hosting experiences?
The best memories would be watching them grow into sports that they may never have played before (esp. when they end up going to state championships), taking them to professional games, visiting the Alamo, and enjoying new holidays together. I don’t believe I’ve ever had unexpected surprises. YFU has been so VERY supportive and I couldn’t have asked for a better organization.

West Hills Middle School Students Enjoy Arctic Adventure as Part of Multicultural Celebration

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West Hills Middle School sixth graders recently traveled electronically to the Arctic through a presentation by YFU exchange student Amisuna Berthelsen from Greenland, assisted by Marta Corriga from Italy. The program featured a live Skype hookup with a Greenlandic classroom where American and Greenlandic students could see and question each other about some of their vast cultural differences.  Among the tidbits that “Ami” shared about Inuit culture:

  • He never saw a tree until he was eight years old (visiting Iceland) and had to touch it to see if it was real.

  • His family has never had a car (there are virtually no roads), but they’ve had a boat and a dogsled.

  • He lives in the world’s smallest capital of 15,000 people. His country has almost 60,000 people, about the same population as West Bloomfield, yet his country is more than three times the size of Texas.

  • Typical foods include raw whale blubber, seal, musk ox, and, of course, pizza.

  • Greenlandic children speak Greenlandic, Danish, and English.

  • Ami never had a snow day until he came to Bloomfield.

 Tweet from Andy Gignac from Skype classroom event.

The American students asked their Greenlandic peers about trends, sports, school, weather, and foods in their countries. When the American students asked about their electronic connectivity, all laughed when many of the Greenlandic students whipped out their smart phones. The assembly concluded with the Greenlandic version of Pharrell Williams' song, “Happy” followed by an Italian version of the same, as all danced together.

The assembly was a prelude to the Multicultural Celebration to be held at West Hills Middle School on the evening of Friday, March 27 from 6:30 to 9:00 pm.

Ami and Marta are two exchange students representing the group of eight YFU exchange students who have attended Bloomfield Hills High School this year living with local host families.

YFU is currently seeking host families for exchange students coming in August for the 2015-2016 academic year.  Visit the YFU website to learn more. Roll out the welcome mat, and see the world through the eyes of a new exchange son or daughter!

West Hills Middle School Students Enjoy Arctic Adventure as Part of Multicultural Celebration

user

West Hills Middle School sixth graders recently traveled electronically to the Arctic through a presentation by YFU exchange student Amisuna Berthelsen from Greenland, assisted by Marta Corriga from Italy.The program featured a live Skype hookup with a Greenlandic classroom where American and Greenlandic students could see and question each other about some of their vast cultural differences.  Among the tidbits that “Ami” shared about Inuit culture:

  • He never saw a tree until he was eight years old (visiting Iceland) and had to touch it to see if it was real.
  • His family has never had a car (there are virtually no roads), but they’ve had a boat and a dogsled.
  • He lives in the world’s smallest capital of 15,000 people. His country has almost 60,000 people, about the same population as West Bloomfield, yet his country is more than three times the size of Texas.
  • Typical foods include raw whale blubber, seal, musk ox, and, of course, pizza.
  • Greenlandic children speak Greenlandic, Danish, and English.
  • Ami never had a snow day until he came to Bloomfield.

Tweet from Andy Gignac from Skype classroom event.

The American students asked their Greenlandic peers about trends, sports, school, weather, and foods in their countries. When the American students asked about their electronic connectivity, all laughed when many of the Greenlandic students whipped out their smart phones. The assembly concluded with the Greenlandic version of Pharrell Williams' song, “Happy” followed by an Italian version of the same, as all danced together.

The assembly was a prelude to the Multicultural Celebration to be held at West Hills Middle School on the evening of Friday, March 27 from 6:30 to 9:00 pm.

Ami and Marta are two exchange students representing the group of eight YFU exchange students who have attended Bloomfield Hills High School this year living with local host families.

YFU is currently seeking host families for exchange students coming in August for the 2015-2016 academic year.  Visit the YFU website to learn more. Roll out the welcome mat, and see the world through the eyes of a new exchange son or daughter!

My Exchange Student Is The Best Because...

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One day, after my husband and I had hosted 4 exchange students, my aunt asked me which one was my favorite kid.  I was stumped on how to answer the question and all I could do was to ask her which of her two natural children was her favorite.  She just looked at me with the expression of a point well taken.  A couple weeks later, I figured out how to answer that question:  My favorite foreign son/daughter is whichever one is currently physically with us.  Therefore, at the time I am writing this, I can clearly and boldly state that student #7, Nils Bluemke from Germany, is my favorite and THE best exchange student on Earth.

I make this statement based on what he has given up to be here and what he has contributed to our small, dysfunctional, family.

The things he has given up to be here are: two younger sisters that love him very much (we don’t have any kids of our own), climate and atmosphere (there is a BIG difference between Wenzendorf and Cheyenne, especially since the elevation of Cheyenne 6000-6200 feet), sane parents, scouting, cousins that live just a few houses away and are more or less like additional brothers and sisters, certain freedoms and favorite foods, gardening (again, due in large part to climate and elevation), and the ability to be with his friends and girlfriend.  He has given these up for ten and a half months without complaint in words, actions, or attitude.  We know he misses all of these very much, but he has done quite well at overcoming that feeling.

What he has contributed to our family is absolutely immeasurable.  He has been our son in every way practical.  Many people have commented that someone who didn’t know that Nils was from Germany would swear that we are a natural family.  Not only does he (in many ways) look like us physically, but he acts like us and our interactions are very much typical for a son and parents.  His good-night hugs feel very warm and genuine, he is quite playful with us, and (like his host father) he teases me relentlessly.  Each of our kids has brought something unique to our family.  Nils has brought more laughter than I could have ever imagined (there are valid reasons for why I have nicknamed him Nutty Nils) and, as a budding amateur photographer, literally thousands of photos.  He is also incredibly helpful around the house.  He mows the yard, does the dishes, and vacuums without complaint, he decorated the house quite beautifully for Christmas, and he has planted some strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry plants as well as some flowering vines along our fence.  Not only will we get to enjoy sweet fruit (assuming the birds don’t eat them first), every time we look out the window we will have a visual reminder of what he is leaving behind with us.  He has also been my husband’s best buddy and building partner during the rebuild of a small airplane.  My husband’s biggest passion is flying and now he’ll be able to feel Nils’ presence every time he goes up.  I think that even the cat, whom Nils tortures incessantly, will miss him when he returns to Germany.

At times it seems like my life has become dominated by my volunteer work with YFU and writing this has been very difficult for me for multiple reasons; but if it helps another mother feel for one millisecond what I feel when I think about our Russian, Hungarian, Danish, and Finnish daughters or our two German sons, or helps another student have a successful year, it is well worth it!

- Jennifer Russell, host mom from Cheyenne, WY

Would you like to share your YFU Story? Please submit your stories and pictures!

My YFU Family Is The Best Because...

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MY YFU family is the best because, they took me in as a part of their family, they care as much for me as their own amazing kids. They wanna do EVERYTHING to make me feel welcome and happy.

When I go shopping with them for food and stuff they always ask me if there is anything special I want for my lunch. They are willing to buy stuff for me that none of them really eat, I think that’s amazing. I just think you gotta be something special if you’re willing to open your home and heart for a stranger from another country. Not a lot of people would take that chance. I’m so thankful that they did, cause they are simply the best family I could end up in. They are so amazing that I have a hard time saying why they are.

One of the things I will always remember about my host dad is his coupons. He has one for every where he goes. He love saving money, and he loves to give them to me and my siblings when we go out w/o him, too. He loves helping people and we are often late as a family when we go places because he is helping someone else with a door or a car or something like that.

My family is the best because, they are, helpful, caring, loving, happy, late, open, funny, adventurous, smiling, laid-back and just simply amazing!

- Cecilie from Denmark stayed with the Johnston Family in Milan, OH

Would you like to share your YFU Story? Please submit your stories and pictures!

My YFU Family Is The Best Because...

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My YFU family is the best because of the complete immersion in their family they allowed me to have.

My host family gave me a second home, where I became a part of their family. They taught me German and supported me through the good times as well as the harder times. They forgave my mistakes and gave me second chances. They showed me a new world that I quickly came to love. My host family’s kindness will never be forgotten.

 

My host sister became like my real sister, and we are now, after two years, still very close. We see each other very often and talk almost every day. Her support and caring was incredible. I love her as a sister and respect her as a friend. She was and has stayed my best friend.

 

My host family is the best. There is no doubt of that in my heart.

- Savannah from Michigan was awarded the CBYX scholarship to study in Cologne, Germany for a year

Would you like to share your YFU Story? Please submit your stories and pictures!

My YFU Family is the best because...

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Katharina was an exchange student from Germany with the Becigneul family in Southfield, Michigan. She says her host family did so much for her that “they made one amazing year possible.” Apart from being thankful for her host mom Mimi’s effort to get her the best American high school experience, she enjoyed spending time with them and felt like she became part of the Becigneul family at the end of the year.

My host sister, Madison, at the time twelve years old, was a big help for me in the beginning, too. Every time we went out to eat, I was too insecure to order my food myself, so she was the one who would order it for me without complaining :). She also showed me around the neighborhood and took me to my very first garage sale.

It was not all happy all the time though. Two teenage girls in one house, of course there was going to be some drama. Mimi put up with all our childish fights though, and at the end of the year, when Madison and I worked out our differences, we had a blast that last summer, taking a sewing class together or riding our bikes to the two miles away Dairy Queen to get some ice cream. But also during the year, Madison and I got through some adventures together, for example taking the bus, which really is quite an adventure in the Metro Detroit area. We stood there waiting for an hour while it was snowing very hard (we had a snow day that day).  We survived a creepy staring guy, got off one station too soon and walked the rest of the way. Against all odds, it was a really fun experience that we shared.

But also my extended YFU family was amazing! Madison’s aunt and Mimi’s Daughter, Michelle, her husband Mark and their five kids, Connor, Cassidy, Caitlyn, Dillon and Riley, ages 12-7 at the time, welcomed me with open arms. I got to spend a lot of time with them, and the kids were always just as excited to hang out with me as I was to hang out with them. Oftentimes, they assisted me in my cooking and baking adventures when I tried to make some German specialties (which sometimes didn’t work out that well :)). Michelle took her kids, Madison and me to do a lot of fun things over the year, for example seeing downtown Detroit or going on a trip to Chicago over a weekend. Mark was somebody who was always able to broaden my horizons when talking about various different topics. Additionally, he probably makes the best grilled chicken I have ever had in my life :) I was always welcome at Michelle and Mark’s house and I had a blast every time I went there.

At family reunions, everybody was so nice and open towards me. I am not the most outgoing person when it comes to people I don’t know that well, but everybody was so interested in me and where I come from, I never even once felt uncomfortable, and by the end of the year, I felt like I really became a part of the family.

My host family also made it possible for me to travel around the US and see some more than Michigan. For Thanksgiving (a holiday that doesn’t exist in Germany like that), we went to Indianapolis to visit some friends of Mimi’s. I could not have asked for a better way to experience Thanksgiving, with amazingly nice people and a really full tummy. For Christmas Break, we went to visit Mimi’s other daughter and her family in North Carolina, so I got the chance to get to know another bunch of amazing people, visit one of the southern states and see the campus of Duke University.  In the summer, we also went to visit some family in Canada, where I got to see Toronto and Niagara Falls.

My YFU family and I went through all the ups and downs of an exchange year together. We enjoyed the fun times and worked through the hard ones. With all that and everything they have done for me, I would not hesitate a second to tell everybody that my YFU family is the best and how grateful I am for one amazing year with them :)

-- Katharina from Germany - Exchange student in school year 2011-2012

Would you like to share your YFU Story? Please submit your stories and pictures!