In the summer of 2012, our family had the exceptional experience of hosting an EERC student. It wasn’t long after greeting our guest at the airport in Boston, that we all became comfortable and relaxed with each other. We enjoyed four weeks together, sharing our cultures, customs, and foods. For Anca, our student, there were many “firsts”, such as celebrating the Fourth of July, brunch, a drive-in movie, smores, and fortune cookies. She graciously answered our questions about life in Romania and prepared many delicious traditional Romanian meals for us. The joy of spending time as a family with Anca, as she experienced so many new things, is the source of many special memories. However, the best thing about hosting an EERC student was the close, lasting friendship we now share with Anca.
Hosting a student can be both gratifying and frustrating at times. Yes, it feels good to help someone, but you’ll have to change your routine in order to accommodate the new person in your household.
What I liked best: the feeling that you are giving someone a chance to have a nice vacation and to experience a different culture , the look in a child’s eyes when they see something new to them or when you give them something (a gift, a donut, anything). What I didn’t like: school schedule requires the host family to be available for drop off and pick up at certain times. That can be very difficult or even impossible for some people. In establishing a good relationship with the student, two things must be considered:
- Keep in mind that the student staying in your home for few weeks goes through a lot of emotions, not all of them pleasant. She is far away from home, may miss her parents and siblings. Children from Romania aren’t very comfortable expressing their emotions or their desires. You’ll have to ask or guess what is in their mind.
- Expectations from both, host family and the student. If what is expected is discussed from the beginning, it’s not going to be disappointment at the end.
To conclude, if you have the time and resources to host a child from Romania, do it. Even it may be a little hard some days, it’s so worth it. Think what it means to these kids, a dream come true. They will remember you all their lives.