United Studies Host Family Spotlight - Alesia from North Carolina

16 June 2020


WHY?  People often ask me that ..... why would I welcome a stranger into my home ....why would I want to be responsible for another “small human”.....and the answer is pretty simple ...the rewards far outweigh the risks ......I watch them grow and mature.....I learn about other cultures and teach them about mine .....I have “family” in other countries .....my heart is full!

When did you begin hosting exchange students?  How did you get involved in hosting?

I hosted my first exchange student 14 years ago  - Ellison is now married with a newborn baby girl and followed his dreams to become an airline pilot.  He studied here in the US and now flies for China Air. My son was 12 at the time - I had just lost my husband in a military accident and when I heard about Exchange it brought so many memories of our travel together I said “YES”




How many exchange students have you hosted?  What countries have they been from?

Throughout the years I have hosted 5 students - all boys.  I don’t do “girl drama” as High School girls can be mean to outsiders and this Mama Bear would not be happy.  I have hosted from Macau, Mexico, Italy, Spain and Germany and still keep in touch with them all.  




Have you visited any of your previous exchange students?  If so, what was that experience like?

My first Exchange son visited often while he was studying at Embry Riddle and now visits when he flies into the US.  My Mexican son and I visit each other yearly  and I plan to visit Spain and Germany next year.  My Mexican family welcomed me the first time for 10 wonderful days and I learned all about their culture first hand - and it isn’t what we see on television!




What have you learned about the world through hosting?

Hosting has given me the opportunity to show the students the US isn’t what they see on television and it gives me an inside glimpse of their culture.  They come as strangers and leave as family. 




What are some of your favorite memories from hosting?  What are some of the challenges you’ve faced?

The biggest challenge is the cultural difference BUT that is easily overcome if you talk about it.  I welcome them into my home as family and lay the ground rules from the beginning. If these students can venture this far away from home and land in a strange city and be picked up at the airport by a virtual stranger they can do anything - I encourage them every day!  And I ask myself - if it were my child - how would I want their host to treat them?


What advice do you have for anyone on the fence about hosting an exchange student?

Exchange is amazing in so many ways ...... you have bonds for life - and families all over the world.  Literally.  I would tell people IF you want to see the world OPEN your heart to Exchange......you will be forever changed!  Goodbye is never easy but it really isn’t good-bye - it’s see you later!



Want to learn more about welcoming an exchange student into your home as a single parent?  CLICK HERE and start your journey today!  

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