My husband and I wanted to host an exchange student for a couple of reasons. First, we were at the point in our lives where our careers were moving along and the money wasn't tight. We felt providing the room and board would not put any financial strain on us. Second, it would be a lot of fun to give someone an adventure.
Anna came to us as our 3rd exchange student. Anna was a 16-year old FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange Program) student and came to us from Kiev, Ukraine. Anna was one of three students who came to stay with us on August 21, 2006. We also had Tijana, a 17- year old student from Nis, Serbia and Murad a 17-year old student from Azerbaijan. Murad's stay was temporary until a host family could be found for him and Tijana and Anna were to live together in our home as host sisters. We went from a no child home to having three teenagers in one day. Talk about a shock for both myself and my husband.
Murad's stay with us was 3 short weeks and then we had to say good-bye. It was a very sad day because even in 3 short weeks you can become very attached to someone. Tijana's stay with us was also short as she was not a good match in our home. Tijana moved out of our home in October to stay with a family from her home county who now resided in Franklin, Wisconsin. We did have the pleasure of having Anna stay with us a whole school year.
Anna and I spent many evenings doing her homework together for the two English classes she decided to take. One of her first writing assignments was to write a two page paper on who her hero was. She asked me to read her paper to make sure that there were no grammatical or punctuation errors and as I was reading her paper tear welled up in my eyes. She wrote that her hero was me. How my unselfishness to have a complete stranger stay in my home and to allow this stranger to have the same luxuries and experiences that I get in my everyday life was something she had never experienced before. She was grateful...
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