YFU Handbooks - Page 38

The Future Years for Students and Host Families Experiences That Last a Lifetime If this is your first experience as a host family, you are probably more concerned with the present than with the years ahead, but it is exciting for families to know what the future may hold. The potential impact on families is immeasurable. In the words of one host family: We have hosted many students from many countries over a period of many years, and we have learned and grown so much. Our children (one natural, one adopted) have learned that it does not matter how one enters a family... that love is a response to the person and our understanding of that person. In addition, two students have this to say about the joys of living with an American family and about their experience: My host family and the process of growing into this family was a challenge for me and once the relationships started to grow, I felt happier and happier. The surprising, positive things I’ve learned about myself, my host family, and my family at home...these things will stay with me my whole life. I wanted to have the experience of living away from home. I was challenged by the idea of having to adapt. I wanted to see more of the world, broaden my horizons. I am interested in other cultures and other people in other countries. I thought—and it is true—that the experience would make me a lot stronger when I returned home. For many host families, the YFU experience lasts beyond the exchange program experience. The experience can make the world seem smaller and not so impersonal. Families and students feel close to people thousands of miles away. Horizons are expanded for all participants. A very high percentage of families host other students in the years after their first experience with YFU. Continuing the Relationship with YFU Students may find their lives changed by the YFU Community College Program. Perhaps a new academic or career path will open as a result of their studies and experiences in the US. Students often return to visit host families and friends years after their exchange. Marriages, births, and other events can be shared long distance or in person. Students can also join YFU alumni groups in their home countries. These groups provide a way for the US experience to remain fresh and for students to meet others who share their world view. YFU would like students and families to continue to be a part of the organization after the exchange experience. As “alumni” or YFU returnees, students can help with orientations for future YFU Community College Program students, as well as with programs for foreign students coming to their country. Former host families of the YFU Community College Program can help YFU by acting as resources for other families, as well as hosting again in the future. We hope that both students and families will stay an active part of the YFU family. 38 - CCP HANDBOOK