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YFU

YFU Blog - Recent stories about Youth for Understanding

Filtering by Tag: international studet

A Look Back at the 2017-2018 USA Exchange Year

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Some of our favorite moments from the 2017-2018 YFU USA program year.

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My YFU Family Is The Best Because...

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My YFU Family is the BEST because…

Eleven of our twenty-one YFU daughters joined us in Berlin this month for a big family reunion!

The official event was three days long with lots of chocolate chip cookies, s'mores, stories and pictures.  It was great fun to watch these lovely, accomplished young women get to know each other, swap stories and discover what exchange student experiences they shared.  We played a game "Stand up if you ate tacos as your first meal . . . made homemade ice cream . . . played in the orchestra . . . talked to Uncle Bob about his stamp collection . . . liked root beer . . ."  We met their parents, husbands, boyfriends and five of our nine YFU grandchildren.  Five of our daughters live in Berlin. We got to see their homes, walk their neighborhoods and meet them for an afternoon at a museum or in Potsdam before and after the reunion itself. We even randomly run into one daughter on a busy Berlin shopping street!  Two live within a short distance of one another and one of my favorite mornings involved leaving one house, walking to the local Saturday market, then popping over to the other's house to retrieve something.  The grandchildren were excited to see me again and I could wish my YFU son-in-law a happy birthday in person.  By the time we left, we felt very at home in many corners of Berlin.

We originally initiated the idea of the reunion last fall and set up the basic outline of events, but it was our daughters and their families who pulled it all together and filled in all the gaps, made the food, organized the adventures, hosted the ones coming in from afar and put together a scrapbook for us to express what their years abroad had meant to them.  My YFU family is the best.

--- Susan was a host mom from 1989 to 2011 and a volunteer from Charlottesville, VA.

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...

“You will not see the world the same way anymore!”

---- Fabio from Brazil lived as a member with of the Hanoch family in Texas

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 to so many places, but also they made this year unforgettable, amazing, and fun.  We visit so many places: Alligator Land, Universal Studios (still can’t believe that I did this free drop thing), St. Augustine and the beach in Florida, the Zoo, the Cahokia Mounts, the Arch and the Art Museum in St. Louis, the Big Been, the Mall and the John Hancock Observatory in Chicago.

One of the best weeks here was - of course - the YFU east coast trip (NYC, Washington DC, Philadelphia), but only because my American sister, Sarah was with me. […]And I will never forget how we waltz on 5th Avenue, and switched our name tags which included our home country (we basically confused everyone; people tried talking in German to her and didn’t believe that I am not American, so they started talking in German).

My host family also made this year special, because they took me to Kings Island, Jungle Jim’s, Metamora, and on college visits, they taught me how to ride horses and told us many funny stories from their work (who trades their calculator for a candy bar, seriously?!). They had so much patience with my English, okay and probably a lot of fun too…My host sister used to write similar words down and draw pictures. They always helped me with school stuff. Since my host mom is a Math teacher, she basically could answer every of those stupid math question, and for my Personal Finance Class my host dad tried to explain the weird US tax system to me.

I enjoyed my time here and I am so happy and grateful that they convinced me to do swimming (maybe) and tennis, and supported me to do all those clubs, … okay except FFA (I realized all leaves look the same), but everything else (BPA, Model Legislature, FCCLA, Academic Team, Prom Committee) was a lot of fun. I am so happy that I could be a part of their family, and experience so much. America is different (weird) in many ways, but also the same. (Who gets first in the shower? … Grrr I am pretty sure my host brother takes 30 minutes showers, who calls shotgun first? … most the times I did not … Etc.) Anyway there are many reasons why this host family was the best for me and I probably could fill hundreds of pages with it.

-- Nina from Germany lived as a member of the Baumer family in Mooreland, IN

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

My YFU "Son" Is The Best Because...

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My YFU family is the best because...

There’s a saying that goes: “We don’t get to choose our families…” this is only partially true.

I remember perusing the new student profiles and seeing Stenly’s.  I instantly knew he would be a great fit for us.  Sure enough, he got here, and he won us over immediately.  Everything was so exciting for him, from the size of the highways to the Dallas skyline, to his creating his first fajita. Every experience was taken in with a freshness that made me smile to see his reactions.

Since we don’t have any natural children, I didn’t think I’d ever be a ‘dad.’  I still remember the day (via text messages of course) when he asked if he could call me Dad.  I immediately texted back a resounding “Yes!! Of course.”  This left us with another question: what to call his other dad?  I suggested ‘Papa’, but I typed it phonetically and Stenly read it as Pupa.  So ‘other dad’ lovingly became known as Pupa.  Since that time, not a day has passed when we don’t hear the word Dad or Pupa followed by some comment or question, and we still get excited every time we hear it.

As the time draws nearer to send him back, each day becomes a trial that tests my ability to not tear up.  No matter what country he’s in we’ll always be a family.

Thank you, Stenly for being our son and for letting us be your parents.  This is why our exchange stu...no, our *son* is the best.

He was the best ‘choice’ we ever made.

With Love,

Dad and Pupa

---- Erik is a host dad from Dallas, TX

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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ina_paxtonIL

ina_paxtonIL

My YFU Family is the BEST because we always have fun together.

They accomplished to make me feel home after the first day I arrived and they care about me like they care about the 3 other kids in the house. We have great memories and I will always know that I am welcome here. I have found a new family, thank you, YFU!

-- Ina from Germany lived as a member of the Gracia family in Paxton, IL

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My YFU Family Is The Best Because...

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nicole

nicole

Every single member of the family supported me during my exchange year and they still do even though I live so far away from them. I feel really honored that I had the opportunity to live with my family.

Every character is a big inspiration to my lifestyle. The best thing about my host family is that I never had a conflict with anyone which made my year even more awesome. The best moment was that one time when my host mom came over to Germany last year and met my family here back home. She totally got along with my German parents and sisters and loved it so much here, that she wants to come over again, but with the entire host family. There is no doubt that my host family will miss the marriage that of my sisters or even of myself in the future. Of course, we wouldn’t miss a marriage of my host sisters in the future, either! Thank you for everything, what a life experience!!

- Nicole from Germany stayed with the Robinsons in Wixcom, MI

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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Milena

Milena

Milena from Germany stayed with the Knight Family in Clarkston, Michigan. Milena believes that her exchange experience was life-changing. She is also very thankful that her host family was always there for her.

My host family is the best because they invited me- a totally strange person- into their home, showed patience by explaining everything to me, and -the most important thing- accepted me for what I am.

Since I arrived here, I have grown a lot. In my host family but also as a person. I am very thankful for that! I could follow the forming of our relationship which was really interesting. It took a lot of work and time to get to where we are now.

First I was a little shy and did not talk a lot. The relationship with my host parents was more facile. But with the time I got to know them better. Soon I also had a great relationship with my host sister. It started when we were working on a project outside in the yard. Together we had to solve a problem and managed to do it, and that really helped us to get to know each other and form a connection.

My host sister and I had a lot of fun together and created a whole page of inside jokes. We both enjoyed having someone our age around. After a couple months our relationship turned from being good friends into being sisters. We have great moments but also times when we don't do a lot together.

The relationship with my host parents also became a lot better after some time. The many conversations with my host father tightened our relationship and the first hug from my host mother also helped us to get closer.

Besides integrating into a new family I also learned a lot about American Culture. Americans celebrate different Holidays and I am very glad that I got to experience these events together with my host family.

The first unfamiliar holiday was Thanksgiving. On that day, the whole family came to our house and we had a lot of fun and really good food. The next different holiday was the celebration of Christmas Day on the 25th instead of Christmas Eve. New Years Eve was probably the most exciting event because we were in New York City and saw the Ball Drop.

Once I was asked if “I was dropped at the right door sill” and I said “Yes, definitely!!” My host family has had a huge impact on my life. Here I learned important things for my life; little things and big things. I found out what I really want and what the I value the most.

When I go back to my home country I would like to change some things in my life. I hope to do things differently than before, things that I never really paid attention to. I learned how important it is to treat people with respect and I especially want to be nicer to my mother.

It is amazing how my host family included me in their life and what touches me the most is that my host parents treat me like their own daughter and that my host sister and host parents are always there for me and always willing to listen to me. I am very thankful for that, and altogether there is no word meaningful enough to say the “Thank You” that they deserve!

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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stenly

stenly

I still remember the time when I came and everything was so exciting. Every little thing made me excited such as going shopping, or going to eat at a restaurant, with which they spoiled me. I can proudly say that they turned me into a “lazy American” in just 10 months. I will never forget those priceless times when we had game nights with family and friends, just random eating dates, trips to different parts of the states, and, of course, those midnight gym visits. I could really be myself and enjoy every little aspect of my life. If I had to choose between my natural parents and my host parents, I just couldn’t decide because they both are golden and stuck deep in my heart. Thank you Dads for making me appreciate everything and everybody in this big world as well as making myself, me. There are just not enough words to describe y’all. I love you with my heart!

- Stenly from Estonia, stayed with a host family in Dallas, TX

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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Shahla

Shahla

My family is the best because...

even though they had hard time with [my host] sister going to college, and a new house and everything, they still decided to host an exchange student. Not everybody would do that. My family is the best because it is MY family and they like and accept me for who I am.

- Shahla from Germany stayed with the Hollobaugh Family in Dexter, MI

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

My YFU Family Is The Best

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Alise

Alise

My YFU host family, the Teteris family , is the best for many reasons.

First of all I have to say that I felt at home living with them; I could always rely on my host parents and I still can. Dziesma, my host mom, always had time to talk to me if I had problems, or just because she wanted. We would sit for 4 or 5 hours sometimes just talking, laughing, and enjoying each other's company. My host dad Erik was very caring during my exchange year and he always found time to help me. Also I have to thank my host sister Annija - she taught me a lot!

It is not easy to put my experience in words because I have tons of wonderful memories living with my family. I felt happy and comfortable, maybe even a little bit spoiled in a good way :)

- Alise from Latvia lived with the Teteris Family in Thousand Oaks, CA

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