Exchange Student 2012-2014

Exchange Student 2012-2014

Being a host familie for an exchange student.

This blog is about having an exchange student for a year. So how is it so be a host family for a person from another part of the world.

The new daughter arriving

Exchange studentPosted by Lars Andersen Sat, September 15, 2012 21:22:04

Returning from our 3 month tour the 31. July, we where exciting to meet Valentina. We still had vacation 14 days more and the plans was that Valentina should arrive on the 5. August, giving us time to introduce her to her new life in Denmark and seeing some things, when the weather still was warm. Unfortunately things didn´t go as planned and we was informed that she would have to postpone her arrival with a month. We started to get a little anxious if she really would come!

But at last she toll us she would arrive in the beginning of September.

We knew had she to fligh from Caracas to Frankfurt and on Friday Joan got a call from the danish police as they wanted us to confirm that we were expecting a girl from Venezuela living by us. That weekend we had to go to a big cousin get to getter weekend finishing Sunday where we also had to pick Valentina up in Copenhagen. She had been to a welcome camp trying to learn just a little bit of life in Denmark.

It is a strange feeling meeting someone, you have written together with and read about and seen a lot of pictures of, but never talked to!

At the camp a smiling girl meet us and gave us all a big hug, Valentina was the last one to be pick up, so I guess she was really happy to see us smiley.

Back home we gave her the tour of the house and talked a little bit over the family and then Joan and I sat down with her going through a list with practical stuff, advised from AFS. This list was containing this as:

- cleaning your room

- getting up in the morning

- duties in the house

House policy of drinking alcohol and all kind of stuff that is quite important to talked about from day one, so that she knows was kind of expectations we have to her. A little bit strange to talked about but then again it is nice to have done this right away.

As school was going to start for her next day, we had to find out if she could bike as this was going to be her transportation for school (Køge Gymnasium) for the future. She could bike, but it was clear she hadn´t done this very much.

Most important, I think she was happy about the house and her room and Joan remember to buy her flowers which made her happy smiley.

Valentina in her new room

Next morning I biked with her to school, that took quite a while as this was quite new for her. 40 minutes later arriving to school we had a meeting with a very nice lady, that is advisor for exchange student on the Gymnasium. 3 students from Valentina´s class showed up and took care of her for the rest of the day.

After school I picked her up and biked with her home. Most of her lessons is in Danish so you can images how hard that must be sitting the hole day (8.am – 3-30 pm) and just listening to a language you don´t under stand! (She also told me she almost fall a sleep in the last lesson – if it was me I would properly fall a sleep after 20 minutes….).

So for the next 3 month we really have to help her learning Danish, it is important for her if she want to get the most out of her stay and I think she is really motivated and a fast learner – good for you Valentina smiley. She don´t think Danish grammar is so hard, but the pronunciation is the worst part.

The school days is quite long for her, because every Tuesday and Thursday she has to go language school in Roskilde from 3.pm to 5 pm. Luckily there is some other exchange students on school she can travel with.

Learning a little bit about our food

I really think that the first week has been fantastic. Well Joan and I have to invest some time in the beginning (school, social security number, biometric staying, bank, cell phone, duties in the house), but the interesting things you get in return is worth it. Learning about another culture, seeing a young girl really want to work hard for this to work, makes me hope that maybe one of my children someday would want to be an exchange student.

For the kids it has also been a new experience to share their parents attention with a new child and helping to make her feel at home. Also for their English this is a good thing.

In the weekend we took a tour to Copenhagen and see the most famous stuff, the little mermaid, castle of the queen and the shopping street strøget. The only one that meet someone in Copenhagen was… Valentina (some of the AFS students on tour), ha ha want is the chance for that!

The queens castle "Amalienborg"

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Why getting an exchange student?

Exchange studentPosted by Lars Andersen Fri, September 14, 2012 14:04:04

Around a year ago Joan and I started having the idea about getting a exchange student. So why would some properly ask and there is not a simple answer to that, but a part of the answer is that:

- We love meeting people from other part of the world

- We would like to have an interesting “project”, returning from our 3 month journey in USA/Canada, because it is quite an empty feeling, when you have worked hard for something and suddenly it is over.

- We would very much like our children to learn about different cultures and understand what it takes to adapt a new member of our family and maybe wake their interest to be an exchange student by themselves.

- We have the room for a person more.

We don´t know anyone that had tried this before so we started to examine, what the options where. Quite fast we found AFS which is worldwide and has many years of experience in this. So we filled out and application and as soon as we had sent it, we was contacted by AFS Køge. We arranged a meeting in our house, so they could learn about us and our reasons to have an exchange student. I really like the setup of AFS, because the young people know that their host families have been interviewed and approved. In AFS you don´t get any money as a host family because they want to be sure you don´t do this for the sake of the money.

After the approval , we were contacted in the spring and got some papers on different young people that also had Denmark on their list of places they would like to be exchange students. Among those applications where Valentina, a 16 year old girl from Venezuela. I think we was attracted to her application because, she seemed open minded, interested in sport and music and of cause that she was from a part of the world, we don´t know so much about.

So after a while we was the informed that everything was agreed and she would come in the new school year. So we started to change the office to an extra bedroom instead and started our 3 month journey, knowing that everything was arranged.

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