Friday, June 14, 2013

A Message to American International Exchange Host Families: Thank You!

This week, we saw our ExCEL exchange students return to Lithuania after spending a year studying in American schools and living with American families. We are thrilled to have them back, and cannot wait to hear their stories. Today, we want to pass on a special Thank You to all the American host families who opened their hearts and homes to Lithuanian and other international students -- this is a message from Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. 

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.
A Message to American International Exchange Host Families: Thank You