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Hosting. Enjoy the Ride!

Case Study: Hosting a student

Hosting. Enjoy the Ride!
by The Dickinson Family in Wales

Theresa with her family

Theresa and Simon from Gwent, South Wales have just completed their third year of hosting with MyEducation and are excited to start their fourth year in September. They had never hosted before when Theresa saw our ad in the local newspaper and called the office to enquire. Since that time they have hosted three students, have travelled to new destinations with them, become friends with the staff at MyEducation and have expanded their family in ways they may not have expected. They are a wonderful family and here they tell us why they host and share some advice for new families.

Why did you decide to host with MyEducation?

​We decided to host as our girls had grown and started leaving home and we started missing kids around the house. We were thinking of fostering, saw the advert and thought it sounded perfect for us. Two of our children had worked at international summer schools and thought that we would enjoy it and be good at it. So here we are three years later going on to our fourth and fifth students.

How many students have you hosted and how did the experiences differ?

We have hosted three fabulous students, two girls and a boy, one Danish and two Italian. Each one was a new experience. Having never had a son a boy was a whole new experience for us and our girls, but they loved having a brother and there are new cultures and beliefs to learn about.

What do you enjoy most about hosting?

The thing we enjoy most about hosting is seeing the students become more and more confident and seeing their personalities shine. We also enjoy showing them what we love to do and the places we love to go and of course our love for rugby.

What are the challenges that you face?

I think the challenges we face are learning the new personalities and how they work and the best way to work them into our family, how different cultures have different expectations of certain things, getting over the language barrier and getting your meaning across.

Theresa with student in Welsh rugby shirts

What advice would you give to someone looking to host a student?

What I would say to someone thinking of hosting a student is “DO IT!” Don’t expect it to be easy at the start. The first few weeks are a learning experience, getting to know them and making them feel safe and welcome, but once you’ve done that it can be great. Sharing those ten months together, learning to laugh, live and cry together, becoming part of your family, celebrating birthdays and family events together is so much fun. Be open to the experience and enjoy the ride in whichever direction it takes you.

How do you think the experience may differ with two students arriving in September?

Having two students at the same time will be different, but they will have someone to travel to school with and to share experiences with. Also with two new personalities at once and a culture we know nothing about there will be challenges. Hopefully they will be able to help each other on their journey and not have to just be with us oldies all the time!

(Theresa and Simon will welcome two girls into their home in September – Annabel from Estonia and Silvana from Italy)

How has your family benefited from hosting?

We have learned so much about other cultures and people’s lives and made life-long friends around the world. Our girls have new siblings who they still keep in touch with having shared so many things together. We have a son we never thought we would and the girls have a brother they never thought they could.

Theresa and Simon have shown how hosting can expand your family and enrich the lives of each member of the family, whether they are still living at home or not. The relationships developed by hosting will last for years and years and will be cherished.

A huge thank you from the MyEducation team to the whole Dickinson family for making our students so very welcome. We are so grateful that you want to host with us and look forward to welcoming Annabel and Silvana in September.

Theresa reunited with exchange student

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