Living with a host family in another country, learning a different language and new customs, made me realize the importance of seeing and respecting the perspective of everyone - not just people who look like me and live like me.
Talking with him made me realize how foreign exchange programs like AFS are planting seeds for the future. All of the experiences in the “here and now” that open up new worlds for young people will bear fruit long after they have come back home. And they very well could help make our world a better place. (Definitely better-informed and more open-minded.)
The program depends upon host families to provide a safe and supportive home base for these students. In 2019 the Baltimore Sun did a story about being an exchange student at Christmastime:
Take a moment to read this article and think whether you can see yourself as someone who can provide that kind of a home base for an international student. If you are interested in hosting you can send an email to AFSBaltimore@gmail.com or request more information at https://www.afsusa.org/host-family/ to learn more. The deadline for Howard County Schools is right on the horizon - - June 1st - - so you don’t have much time to mull this over.
Perhaps you were considering it pre-pandemic but larger concerns put it out of your mind. If I have managed to put it back into your mind I will consider that a win.
Have any of my readers hosted AFS students? I’d love to hear about your experiences.