A Message to American International Exchange Host Families: Thank You

Posted by Ann Stock
June 13, 2013
An American Family Hosts an Exchange Student From Thailand

“The map of the world is more than just a big poster on the wall. It represents people our children have come to love in countries they may have never heard of otherwise,” according to the Strain family of San Antonio, Texas when we asked what being a host family meant to them.

As summer begins for families around the United States, we would like to say thank you to the volunteer American host families who generously provided a home-away-from-home for one of nearly 2,000 high school exchange students from over 50 countries that are on State Department-sponsored exchange programs this year.

We should honor host families as citizen diplomats who gave of their time, energy, homes, and support to talented young people from another country. By sharing their culture, values, and daily lives, host families build life-long relationships.

In the next few weeks, I have the pleasure of seeing the faces and hearing the stories of our exchange participants before they board planes to go home. It is a favorite time of year. I marvel at the change and growth.  Nervous and shy exchange students that we met at arrival have blossomed into brave, eloquent, independent future leaders. They challenged themselves, made lasting friendships, contributed to their communities with volunteer service, and shared their countries and cultures with their American peers.

We hear of host families who took them fishing for the first time, helped them become part of the varsity soccer team, taught independence skills to students with disabilities, brought them to their churches and mosques to share their own traditions, and even showed them how to build snowmen. Most importantly, our host families gave our exchange participants the nurturing and inspiration they needed to excel throughout the year, not just as guests, but as new members of their families.

State Department student exchange participants are amazing in their promise and what they bring to both their hosts and their home countries.  In fact, winning a State Department-sponsored scholarship is more competitive than gaining admittance to a top U.S. university. These students are future leaders.  What these youth learn at this formative age is life-changing and what they accomplish when they return strengthens their communities and teaches others what America is really like.   None of this would be possible without the generous support of host families across the United States.

From the State Department family to our host families across the United States, thank you.

About the Author: Ann Stock serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

We are eager to welcome new families as hosts! To learn more about becoming a host, visit hosting.state.gov. Share your own hosting experience using #HostFamily on Twitter



Christina L.
United States
June 15, 2013
What a nice article! I had the privilege of placing many brave students with some outstanding host families this year around Long Island, NY. One of my families leaves tomorrow to visit their former student in Belgium. Prior to hosting they hadn't planned on ever leaving the country. One student was introduced to the First Lady by his host fathers! He was so honored that she took a few minutes to speak with him. It's a bittersweet time of year as we say goodbye to our current students and welcome our next group. How wonderful to accumulate friends from all over the world!
June 15, 2013
Ronald N.
June 17, 2013
do u offer scholarships for medical students?
Ainur A.
June 18, 2013
Hello. I am student of Eurasian National University. Is any scholarships available for students from developing countries? Thank you.
Jeff T.
United States
June 19, 2013
Hosting an exchange student, and getting to know other exchange students, has been one of the absolute highlights of my life. I remember my wife posting on Facebook that she was worried that we wouldn't do it right -- that the bottom line is all they need is a place to put their stuff, some food to eat, and someone to care. That assessment hasn't changed, and yet it has given me more joy than I ever thought possible.
Mary J.
Illinois, USA
June 28, 2013
Hosting has been a true blessing that has provided many memories, lots of lessons, growth in our community and additional heartstrings. It is so difficult to say farewell at the end of the year, but exciting to know another life will enter into our shortly and we will get to forever be connected with all who pass thru. Being a part of a growing child's foundation like this is immeasurable. Such joy it has brought.
July 5, 2013
Dear Coordinator I want to tell you that I would like to share the special moment with my friends near year. Thank to the famalies host David


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