Cookie Consent by TermsFeed
Coronavirus Update

The Ripple Effect Of Hosting

Have you ever considered hosting a student or an au pair from another country? Someone who will live in your home as a member of your family? Are you aware that this experience will probably change your life and your child’s life forever?

Before Tom and I began to host, we found ourselves reluctant. We had two little girls, 4 and 7. We treasured our privacy. We lived in a small house with no extra money. Our curiosity got the better of us and we decided to try hosting in spite of our reluctance. We selected a girl from Japan who seemed to have quite good English. Our children were beside themselves with joy. Suddenly they had a big sister who would play with them. Since her English was not as good as we thought, the girls found they could take care of her like a little sister. On the second day, she began to play cards with them. It was a universal language. Our Japanese girl, Chiharu, who was 23, began to blend with our family. In just three short weeks, she found loving understanding from my children who had never known a person from another country. My husband, yes, Tom Areton, was staying up with our “new daughter” until 1AM asking her all manner of questions about Japan like “How do the Japanese pay their bills?” or “What does your father do for a living?” Our sweet student tried valiantly to answer him. We discovered that the Japanese live very differently from the Americans. This was such a delightful discovery that we found ourselves fascinated. Our children too were utterly intrigued by her unique values. One of them said, “Your mom and dad don’t hug or give each other a kiss in front of you in Japan?” Her mother and father showed affection in front of the family. Needless to say, we were all hooked and we were all in love. She had quickly become a family treasure. Our loving relationship has lasted for many years after she returned home.

Thirty two years later we are still hosting students, now from all over the world. I had a third daughter six years after we first started hosting and she grew up with two to three Japanese children, a whole family from Brooklyn who now lived in Japan and hardly spoke English, three Slovak girls, and a Mongolian who went to high school here. There were many other short-term visitors from many countries. Even today, as I write these lines, we are hosting a young Slovak family downstairs in our au pair quarters. It is their 4th year with us and they now have a little two year old girl! Even more amazing, because of our experience with Chiharu and some others, we decided to start CHI.

CHI’s 200,000 hosting families, some of whom have had almost a hundred students coming through their welcoming homes, can also attest to international friendships that go on for decades. We know the ripple effect hosting a foreign person can have on our lives. Some of our children have become diplomats. Some work in the travel business. A few have married people from others countries. Many have taken opportunities to travel. A great many visit their students abroad, attend their weddings, and welcome them back on their return visits. Most importantly, families who host begin to see the world through “different” eyes. By becoming more tolerant and understanding of other cultures and by cherishing their world-wide friendships, they become better citizens of our own country.

CHI has many programs that bring young students to our shores. Our Au Pair program allows young people to live with a family, attend classes, and care for the children while the mother is working. Group Homestays bring high school students in the spring and summer for up to 4 weeks. These students study English conversation and interact with their host families in the evenings and on weekends. Some students attend our high schools for 1 or 2 semesters. These young people literally become members of their new American families and of their high schools. Overseas University students come as Interns, training in American businesses. Even some of these stay with a family when they first arrive in order to learn about how we live.

And what happened to our 23 year old Chiharu we hosted 32 years ago? She became an English teacher, married another Japanese student from the same homestay group who became a neurosurgeon and they have two daughters, both studying medicine.

Happy End, indeed!

Leave a Reply

contact us

How can we help you?