Kategoriarkiv: Vertsfamilier / Host Parents

Bytte familie er vanlig

Trude forteller om at vertsfamilier ikke alltid er forberedt i tilstrekkelig grad på hva det å være vertsfamilie betyr for familien. Uansett hva utviklingsorganisasjoner måtte fortelle potensielle vertsfamilier, kommer utvekslingseleven til å kreve mye oppmerksomhet, tid og penger. Hele artikkelen kan leses på bloggen til Trude:

Det er en stund siden jeg har skrevet noe nå og det er vel først og fremst på grunn av at det har skjedd så mye i det siste at jeg ikke har hatt så mye tid til å skrive. De siste ukene har jeg nemlig vært i prosessen med å bytte vertsfamilie.

Det er flere grunner til at jeg byttet familie, men hovedgrunnen er at jeg ikke helt følte at denne familien hadde ordentlig tid eller lyst til å ha en utvekslingsstudent i huset. Vertsforeldrene mine jobbet hele dagen til langt utpå kvelden og søstrene mine hadde heller ikke mye tid til overs for meg, noe som førte til at jeg mye alene i huset og at jeg nesten ikke snakket spansk med noen når jeg var hjemme.

Det var jeg som selv tok valget om å bytte familie og det er ikke et gøy valg å ta. Jeg var lenge usikker på om jeg ville bytte, men til slutt bestemte jeg meg for at det var det jeg virkelig ville. Jeg kan ikke si at jeg ikke likte den første familien min, for jeg hadde to veldig snille søstre og foreldrene mine var også snille og greie, men de var nok ikke helt, etter min mening, en familie som passet veldig godt til å ta inn en utvekslingselev. Det verste var nok å dra fra vertssøstrene mine, som jeg hadde blitt veldig nære med gjennom de 6 mnd. jeg bodde hos dem. Det er ganske sent å bytte familie etter et halvt år, for jeg hadde bare 3,5 mnd. igjen før jeg skulle hjem, men det var et valg jeg måtte ta.

Så etter en lang ventetid fant AFS endelig en ny familie til meg, heldiggvis i samme by som før, Bugaba. Så jeg går fortsatt på samme skole og er i samme AFS-komite som før. Den nye familien min er helt super! De er så snille og hyggelige mot meg, de er interessere i meg og jeg føler generelt at vi har skikkelig bra kjemi. Jeg tror nok at det er mye på grunn av at jeg allerede snakker bra spansk nå, så kommunikasjonen har vært veldig god fra starten av. Jeg bor nå med en vertsmor i begynnelsen av 50-årene, en «vertssøster» på 29 og hennes sønn som er 7 år. Så jeg er faktisk «tía» (tante) for den lille gutten, men han føles vel egentlig mer som en liten bror, heheh 🙂

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What is a host family?

Before you leave home as an exchange student you may already have been in contact with your assigned host-family. Even if you have not, the exchange organization is supposed to have forwarded details on where the family lives, how many family members there are, their ages, contact information and host parent occupations. Included with that information are probably pictures of the family and their home. I do not know if all exchange organizations follow this guideline.

You might get told that you are going to a temporary family (see below). Other times the exchange student is told that a representative will function as host family until a permanent family is found (see below).

Opprinnelse ukjent
Source unknown

 

What is a host family?

A host family is a family that has promised to allow you to live with them for the duration of your exchange student stay. There isn’t really a template for what a host family should look like:

  • Mom, dad (with or without children)
  • Mom (with or without children)
  • Dad (with or without children)
  • Dad, dad (with or without children)
  • Mom, mom (with or without children)
  • Old, youngish, young

The host-parents should be at least 25 years old. Any younger than that and they might well end up being a friend and not a boundary maker. I do not think there is an upper age limit. However:

  • The host family should be without mental or physical issues that would keep them from being able to fulfil their role as care-taker.
  • The host family should be in a financial situation that enables them to take in another family member.
  • The host family should be able to accept that the exchange student might have different theological, political and cultural views than themselves (goes both ways).

Temporary host family

A temporary host family is one that is supposed to last very few weeks until the exchange organization has found a permanent host family. If the exchange student is lucky, the temporary family willingly becomes a permanent host family (24%). But in most cases this is not so. If a temporary host family is pressured into becoming a permanent one, it is fairly easy to see how problems might arise. (USIA study)

Finding a host family that is willing to take a student in for ten months is not a simple task. Rotary has solved this by having the exchange student stay with several host families (approx. 3).

Representative as host family

At times the only option available to a new exchange student is being placed with their representative until a family is found. Sometimes the representative becomes the permanent host family. (CSFES finds this highly questionable) Some exchange organizations will then assign you a separate representative to avoid conflict of interest. Sadly, if a conflict occurs, the host country organization will usually side with the representative.

Host family as guardian

Your host family is your guardian. They are supposed to keep you safe during your stay, make sure you do your homework, give you chores (just like the other family member), feed you, give you boundaries and make you part of their family unit.

Does the host family get paid?

Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

Some exchange organizations are volunteer based organizations. In such firms the host family does not get paid no matter where you live. Other exchange organizations pay or do not pay their host family depending on what type of exchange program you choose.

Different countries have different rules. In the US there are both variations based on the type of visa the exchange student has (J-1 vs F-1). In Norway there isn’t a regulation about this, but many of the exchange organizations do not pay their host families.

Host family requirements

Most (probably all) exchange organizations have a set of rules they are supposed to follow regarding how they pick who gets to be a host family. The requirements I have seen, set by the firms whose brochures I have looked at, state that they do background checks of the host family. These include:

  • References from extended family.
  • References from acquaintances.
  • Home visitations.
  • Candidate interview.
  • Financial status check.

Hva er en vertsfamilie?

Opprinnelse ukjent
Opprinnelse ukjent

Hvem er vertsfamilien?

Vertsfamilien skal bestå av minst en godkjent voksen og være minst 25 år gammel. Jeg tror ikke det er noen øvre aldersgrense. I tillegg må vertsfamilien ha god psykisk og fysisk helse – altså være i stand til å ta vare på deg. Økonomien trenger IKKE være spesielt god, men den må være god nok til å kunne forsørge deg under utvekslingsåret. Minst en av foreldrene må være i arbeide. Utover dette vil du kunne havne i alle mulige sammensetninger, kulturelle og religiøse bakgrunner.

Vertsfamiliens rolle

Vertsfamilien er din verge mens du er utvekslingselev. Som verge skal den passe på at du følger landets lover og at du har et trygt skoleår i utvekslingslandet. Familien skal gi deg et sted å bo, mat og samhold.

Får vertsfamilien betalt?

Det kommer an på hvilket land du reiser til, hva slags utvekslingsreise du velger og hvilket type visum du reiser under. I Storbritannia får alle vertsfamilier betalt mens man i USA bare betaler vertsfamilier som tar imot F-1 visum elever.

Hvilke krav stilles til vertsfamilien?

Vertsfamilien må være lovlydig, ha referanser fra bekjente og/eller familie og ha økonomi til å ha deg boende hos dem. Det skal foretas en bakgrunnskontroll. Vertsforeldrene skal ha god psykisk helse. Huset skal ligge i et sikkert nabolag (dvs lite kriminalitet).

Boligen

Du kan havne i alt fra trailerhomes til slott. Standarden på boligen avhenger av hvor du reiser og økonomien i området. Vertsfamilien skal sørge for at utvekslingseleven har:

  • trygt område å bo
  • egen seng
  • egen pult og ro til å gjøre lekser
  • et sted å lagre klærne
  • tre måltider dagen (nok mat)
  • et noenlunde rent hjem (uten sopp og råte / uten ekskrementer og et lag med møkk på overflater)

Vertsfamilien skal IKKE

  • motta statlige ytelser,
  • bo i en sosialbolig,
  • ha psykiske lidelser som gjør dem uskikket som vertsfamilie,
  • ha mange andre utvekslingselever eller fosterbarn (reglene varierer fra land til land).

Midlertidige familier

Noen ganger klarer ikke utvekslingsorganisasjonene å finne vertsfamilie til alle utvekslingselevene som har betalt for programmet deres. Da tilbys gjerne midlertidige familier. Om ikke utvekslingsorganisasjonen klarer å vinne en permanent familie, presses noen ganger de midlertidige familiene til å være permanent familie for eleven. Det sier seg selv at problemer lett kan oppstå i en slik situasjone.

Representant som vertsfamilie

Andre ganger velger utvekslingsbyrået å benytte seg av sine egne representanter som vertshjem. Dette har jeg sett flere tilfeller av. Selv om eleven da tilbys en annen representant som sin representant er det ikke vanskelig å se at interessekonflikter lett kan oppstå.

USA: DofS: Questions potential host-families MUST be asked

Title 22: Foreign Relations
PART 62—EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM


Appendix F to Part 62—Information To Be Collected on Secondary School Student Host Family Applications

Basic Family Information:

a. Host Family Member—Full name and relationship (children and adults) either living full-time or part-time in the home or who frequently stay at the home)

b. Date of Birth (DOB) of all family members

c. Street Address

d. Contact information (telephone; e-mail address) of host parents

e. Employment—employer name, job title, and point of contact for each working resident of the home

f. Is the residence the site of a functioning business? (e.g., daycare, farm)

g. Description of each household member (e.g., level of education, profession, interests, community involvement, and relevant behavioral or other characteristics of such household members that could affect the successful integration of the exchange visitor into the household)

h. Has any member of your household ever been charged with any crime?

Household Pets:

a. Number of Pets

b. Type of Pets

Financial Resources:

a. Average Annual Income Range: Less than $25,000; $25,000-$35,000; $35,000-$45,000; $45,000-$55,000; $55,000-$65,000; $65,000-$75,000; and $75,000 and above. Note: The form must include a statement stating that: “The income data collected will be used solely for the purposes of ensuring that the basic needs of the exchange students can be met, including three quality meals and transportation to and from school activities”

b. Describe if anyone residing in the home receives any kind of public assistance (financial needs-based government subsidies for food or housing)

c. Identify those personal expenses expected to be covered by the student

Diet:

a. Does anyone in the family follow any dietary restrictions? (Y/N)

If yes, describe:

b. Do you expect the student to follow any dietary restrictions? (Y/N)

If yes, describe:

c. Would you feel comfortable hosting a student who follows a particular dietary restriction (ex. Vegetarian, Vegan, etc.)? (Y/N)

d. Would the family provide three (3) square meals daily?

High School Information:

a. Name and address of school (private or public school)

b. Name, address, e-mail and telephone number of school official

c. Approximate size of the school student body

d. Approximate distance between the school and your home

e. Approximate start date of the school year

f. How will the exchange student get to the school (e.g. bus, carpool, walk)?

g. Would the family provide special transportation for extracurricular activities after school or in the evenings, if required?

h. Which, if any, of your family’s children, presently attend the school in which the exchange visitor is enrolled?

If applicable list sports/clubs/activities, if any, your child(ren) participate(s) in at the school

i. Does any member of your household work for the high school in a coaching/teaching/or administrative capacity?

j. Has any member of your household had contact with a coach regarding the hosting of an exchange student with particular athletic ability?

If yes, please describe the contact and sport.

Community Information:

a. In what type of community do you live (e.g.: Urban, Suburban, Rural, Farm)

b. Population of community

c. Nearest Major City (Distance and population)

d. Nearest Airport (Distance)

e. City or town website

f. Briefly describe your neighborhood and community

g. What points of interest are near your area (parks, museums, historical sites)?

h. Areas in or near neighborhood to be avoided?

Home Description:

a. Describe your type of home (e.g., single family home, condominium, duplex, apartment, mobile home) and include photographs of the host family home’s exterior and grounds, kitchen, student’s bedroom, student’s bathroom, and family and living areas.

b. Describe Primary Rooms and Bedrooms

c. Number of Bathrooms

d. Will the exchange student share a bedroom? (Y/N)

If yes, with which household resident?

e. Describe the student’s bedroom

f. Describe amenities to which the student has access

g. Utilities

Family Activities:

a. Language spoken in home

b. Please describe activities and/or sports each family member participates in: (e.g., camping, hiking, dance, crafts, debate, drama, art, music, reading, soccer, baseball, horseback riding)

c. Describe your expectations regarding the responsibilities and behavior of the student while in your home (e.g., homework, household chores, curfew (school night and weekend), access to refrigerator and food, drinking of alcoholic beverages, driving, smoking, computer/Internet/E-Mail)

Would you be willing voluntarily to inform the exchange visitor in advance of any religious affiliations of household members? (Y/N)

Would any member of the household have difficulty hosting a student whose religious beliefs were different from their own? (Y/N) Note: A host family may want the exchange visitor to attend one or more religious services or programs with the family. The exchange visitor cannot be required to do so, but may decide to experience this facet of U.S. culture at his or her discretion.

How did you learn about being a host family?

References:

[75 FR 65984, Oct. 27, 2010]


Link to stories about host-families who thought it OK to do missionary work

Girl converting to Mormonism while exchange student

Spreading Christianity on the Sly: Chinese Students in U.S. Get Unexpected ‘Bonus’ of Church Teachings

Chinese Atheists Lured to Find Jesus at U.S. Christian Schools

Polish Exchange Student in US: My Half-Year of Hell With Christian Fundamentalists

Theres an atheist exchange student from North Korea in my class how can i convert her to god?

Exposing the Blind Side: A Reverted Catholic Looks Back

Does anyone have an opinion/scripture about taking in Foreign exchange students of a different faith?

Exchange student accepts Christ, disowned by family

Become a foreign missionary in your own home

Become a foreign missionary in your own home

Exchange student from Finland converted to Mormonism

Exchange student brought to Christ

Baptist families view exchange student hosting as ministry

Should I intervene with missionary efforts

Three exchange students baptized

Wayne Chen: Foreign Exchange Student baptism

German exchange student baptized before return

I baptized an exchange student from another country

by God’s grace I ended up living in Greenville

Chinese girl will be baptized in June

Exchange student from Monique baptized

Missionary lessons to German exchange student

Russian student baptized

Korean exchange student commits to Christ

«Thinking of hosting a Foreign Exchange Student?»

Exchange student to Germany
Arrival of the first Indian student to Dresden. He was to study electrical engineering in Dresden Technical University | 19 February 1951
Allgemeiner Deutscher Nachrichtendienst – Zentralbild (Bild 183)

I happened upon an excellent article on hosting exchange students on the blog of Life Lessons of a Military Wife. In it she discusses the various issues one should consider if you are wondering if you want to host a teen-ager in your home. (Re-printed with her permission: Copyright © Life Lessons of a Military Wife):

Pick a student with similar interests to your own. Don’t pick a student who is heavy into outdoor sports, thinking your bookworm family will changes its ways…you won’t and both of you will be unhappy in the end. Read the student letters and bios VERY carefully and look for clues of immaturity, dominance, chauvenism and possible (more noticeable and problematic) character flaws too. If there is something you absolutely don’t want to deal with, then pick another student.

Realize that a boy student is easier than a girl student, so if this is your first experience, I would certainly pick a boy. We all know teenagers, right? I am a girl myself, so I make no excuses in saying that a teenage girl is much more difficult to deal with than a boy…I’ve seen it myself and been told it over and over again by other parents.

You don’t necessarily have to have teenage children already in your household to host. We have two young boys and thought it would be nice for them to have a big brother. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out quite the way we would’ve liked. We have a very gregarious young man who loves to play soccer and be with his friends, so he rarely interacts with our boys. Be prepared for something like this happening and make up your mind ahead of time if this will disappoint you or not before you choose someone to share your life. Our program had another family with three young adopted children from China. They hosted a young man from China, hoping he could share his culture and his general being with those kids. Well, those kids were so unruly, and this boy was a professional piano player who tended to like things calm and orderly. It was not a good mix.

When they first arrive, don’t have a huge party. Your student will be exhausted. Some take many travel days to get here, depending on where they are coming from. Plus, they have to deal with time changes, cultural changes and just the change of being in a new place with absolute strangers and no familiar family in sight! Integrate them slowly. When you first meet them, ask them if they are hungry, take care of those needs, then go home and let them sleep. Let them take a few days to get adjusted. There will be time for a party next weekend (or whenever), as well as showing them around. Don’t give them too much to process the first few days.

Have basic toiletries on hand. Many don’t travel with much stuff and may be too embarrassed initially to say they need something. We always have a basket of toiletries and toothbrushes in our guest bathroom for all guests. Let them know they can help themselves. No need for them to ask!

Do show them where you keep basic stuff. Go ahead and give them a quick tour around the house after they arrive, just to show them the basics. Show them where the snacks are and where to put their dirty laundry. Tell them when mealtimes are. Later, let them empty the dishwasher and the trashcan…what better way to learn where everything goes? Make sure you tell them they are not a guest but part of the family, and then treat them accordingly.

Realize you may get some cultural resistance. Many of these kids come from cultures where moms do all the housework or dads say what goes. Let them know how you do things here. Remind them they are here on an exchange, and that to be a part of your family, they will do things the way you do things. Don’t listen to the excuse that I can’t make my bed because that is lady’s work…uhh uhhh…not here it ain’t!

Your water, electric and whatever bill will be higher. Most teenagers LOVE to shower. Our boy takes two or three long showers a day. Water in Florida is expensive. Just be sure to budget for these extra expenses or be prepared to teach them about conservation.

Your food bill will be higher. Teenagers eat….a lot. I also had to shop more often and buy snacks and things like that…teenagers like to eat pizzas and snack stuff rather than regular meals, although we do try to sit down as a family at least a few days a week and required this of our student too.

Figure out ahead of time how you will deal with situations and money. We decided beforehand, that whatever we spent money on with our kids, we spent it on our student too. If we went out to eat, to an amusement park, shopped for Christmas gifts, our student was treated as one of our children. For extra expenses, such as when he goes out with his friends on his own (which is almost all the time…kids love to go out to eat and spend money) and clothing and other knick knacks he may want to buy, those were on his own dime, and he understood that ahead of time.

Have a rules talk. Within days of our student arriving, we sat down with him, in fact, we wrote it all down in very plain English, what was expected of him. He ended up posting it on his bulletin board in his room. It listed his curfews (schoolnights and weekends), no drinking, driving, drugs and that kind of thing and what his chores and responsibilities would be. Our student cleans his bathroom every other week (he rotates that with our kids) and gets $20 for mowing our huge lawn. Otherwise, we ask him to keep his room clean and pick up around the house when he sees something out of place. Of course, we constantly have to remind him of many of these things, which I believe are just part of normal teenage behavior.

Have them realize there will be consequences when (not if) they screw up. You are standing in for the student’s parents. Our student’s mom actually told him if he screws up, he will be on the first plane back home. They have to learn responsibility. If they come in late from curfew, then take something away from them, whether it’s internet, TV or going out (a big one for them). Most teenagers LOVE to sleep in and hey, if they miss their ride to school, let them sweat it out and figure it out themselves. Our student had to go flying through our subdivision on my son’s little scooter one morning, trying to catch his last chance for a ride. He made it, but next time, he got up when his alarm rang. These kids have to learn to be adults, and if you baby them, make their school lunch, make their bed for them or wake them up in the morning, they will never learn (remember this with your own kids too). We also had the “sex talk”…I wanted him to make sure I knew what the deal was and if there was any hanky panky that gets him or a girl in trouble, he was going to be on the first plane home, no questions asked.

Try to have some kind of contact with their parents. My student’s parents were worried about having their son in someone else’s care. I regularly send photos and email, plus I know I will get his mom’s support when things go wrong. She has stood behind me 100% so far, and we wouldn’t have had this rapport without this back and forth contact. Can’t speak their language? Then use the Altavista’s Babelfish Translator to try to get your point across. Email makes that easy. Even if the parents don’t have email at home, in many countries, they can figure a way to access email elsewhere.

You may end up being a bus driver. We were lucky in that our student made tons of friends and always had a ride somewhere. We do know other students who didn’t have friends who drove and the host parents had to drive them everywhere..not so difficult if your student ends up being a homebody or has only a few friends, but if they join a sport, such as ours did, with multiple practices a week, it might’ve been close to impossible for me, taking into consideration my husband’s deployments and our own kids’ schedules.

Schedule some family activities. I made sure to schedule some events for our family, including our student. Give them a head’s up well ahead of time to make sure they understand they will be attending the event. Many students think it is almost all fun and games when they come here. Ours doesn’t want to do anything without his friends, so we sometimes have to rein him in and remind him that he is here on an exchange and not on a party bus. Let them know their world revolves around your family and not them.

Have a set-up for your student’s privacy. Kids at this age should have some sort of privacy. Don’t dig through their stuff and if you can, give them a room they can call their own. This is important. Our student knows that his room is his and his alone and that I don’t even go in there other than to peek in to make sure it is somewhat in order and all the four walls are still standing.

Decide what you want to do about the cellphone situation. It seems like every teenager has a cellphone these days. Our student says kids text message all day long, even when they are standing right next to each other. We couldn’t add our student to our cellphone plan, because we didn’t want to incur any more time in our contract due to our upcoming move. Plus, we would’ve had to uptick our minutes and add text messaging, which we don’t have. So, our student had his mom send his phone from home, and we set it up as a prepaid phone. He ended up going through his minutes like water, especially with all the incoming text messages he had to pay for too, so he eventually started leaving it at home when he went to school…a good and smart decision if you ask me in the first place. He has learned to be thrifty and to delay gratification with the thing.

No TV or computer/internet in the teen’s room. When we went over the rules, we set down the internet rules as well. If you don’t want to trust them and are a little paranoid, you can always get one of those software monitoring programs on your computer and set them up with their own user id (not as administrator). Keep the computer and TV in the common areas of your house (this is a must for your kids too). You want them to know you are monitoring what they are doing, and that you are keeping track of the time they spend online. I think ours learned the wonders of My Space over here, although I think he was already a messaging wizard before he came here. I have heard it can be a real problem keeping them off the internet for hours, as many want that contact with home (and their friends), and this behavior is discouraged in order for this exchange to work as it should.

Insist that they call their parents and family at least every other week. This frequency seems to work out best. Once a week is too often and longer than two weeks wrecks havoc on the poor parents. We have lowcost long distance/international phone service and our host family was also able to find a deal at two cents a minute. You can’t beat that! Here’s a reliable service, Pingo that works great.  You can even share it with others!

Query them about their likes and dislikes, and try to make them feel at home. Most will get homesick at some point. Ours had no problem at the beginning, it is at the end of his stay that he is starting to feel down and apprehensive about going back. Give them a chance to tell you their wants and needs. Buy snacks and toiletries and things for around the house they might need. We made up a basket of goodies and gadgets, such as a pocketknife, pen flashlight, dictionary, Post It Notes, a popular novel and office and desk items our student might have needed for school. We included a nice note and put this on his desk in his room before his arrival. The kids also made a welcome home sign for his bedroom door. Before I go to the grocery store or wherever, I do let him know I am going beforehand and leave my shopping list where he can add things to it.

Encourage your student to answer the home phone. Ours used to run the other way when it rang. I finally had to tell him to answer it. Now that he has his confidence up, he has no problem answering it. Try to get them in situations where they can get their confidence going in the right direction. You can start with a non-threatening thing such as the phone..it’s not face-to-face contact, and if they totally screw up, they can still run and find you and give you the phone. The more they do something, the better they’ll get at it and the more they’ll get out of the exchange experience.

Do take the tax deduction when you do your taxes. Right now, you can take a $50 tax deduction per month for hosting a student. In actuality, you spend much more, but that’s what the law says right now. (My note: This is the rule in the US – I do not know if there are similar rules in other countries)

Along those same lines, don’t host a student if you are short on money. Hosting a student costs at least a few hundred extra dollars per month. If you can’t spare that, then don’t host. Don’t put a student in a situation where you are always pinching pennies. You will also tend to resent that unknowing student, and that’s just not fair to them. Most of these exchange programs cost many THOUSANDS of dollars for the student and his family. Many scrimp and save for years or have to ask a rich uncle to help them out. This is a big thing for them. Don’t blow it for them, and be prepared to be somewhat generous. I think many host parents don’t realize the costs involved going into this (both in time and money), so I just wanted to get that out there so you can mull it over!

Brev til vertsfamilien fra foreldrene/Letter to host-family from parents

Dear host family,

My name is (parent). I am (student)’s mother. His father is (father), and (student)  has an older brother called (siblings). In addition, our family consists of (pets).

Our family lives in a regular, middle-class, residential area. The woods are only a couple of minutes away, and swimming requires a bike-ride. Half an hour’s drive takes us to the capitol, Oslo and the fjord.

(Sibling) and (student) are incredibly different. (Sibling) is shy and introvert while (student) is anything but. (Student) has always loved adults. If anyone offered him their lap, he would take it. We kept on expecting him to “get over it” and enter a shy stage, but as long as his parents were somewhere in the vicinity he felt safe. He took his time starting his race towards independence, but a couple of years ago he took off. Since then, he has tried on his independence shoes and he seems to fitting into them fairly well.

What I like the most about (student) is his sense of humor. Both he and I end up being the only ones who laugh at our own jokes and we often do not get other people’s. We do, however, enjoy laughing at each other’s sense of humor. What frustrates me the most about (student) is how stubborn he can be at times. He has that from me as well. It doesn’t really matter whether he is right or wrong, what matters is that he disagrees with whatever I want to be true.

(Student) gets along well with children who are younger than himself and with adults. Many of the interests of the kids his own age haven’t caught on with him yet. He’d rather be outside and active than inside and in front of a pc. Programs about trucking and machines will hold his attention for hours at a time, if we let him. It seems he is going to be able to utilize this interest in his studies. He is taking vocational classes. There he is learning how to drive various vehicles used by logistical companies. After he has gotten his regular license, his school will pay for the additional classes needed to get his truck-driver’s license.

Water fights are one of (student)’s favorite hobbies when the weather here is warm. There is something about water that has an incredible attraction for him. When he was little this could have unfortunate results for our home, but thankfully he has outgrown his flooding tendencies.

(Student) likes knowing what rules apply in different situations. That way he gets to concentrate on the important stuff rather than having to try to figure out what he is allowed or not allowed to do in a given social situation.

According to (student) we are incredibly boring parents. This is probably true. We’re also ancient beings, and that is also true seen with the eyes of a 16-year old.

(Student) has dyslexia. That makes him a slow reader. He loves reading though and uses audio books so he can get through as many books as he wants to. I also read to him sometimes. He seems to like just about any category. Whether he is reading scientific magazines or mysteries doesn’t matter. If the subject interests him, he’ll absorb details that often escape other people.

My hope for a host family is that they will be people who will care for, and care about, my son. Religion or family structure does not matter to us. What we need are decent people who don’t mind boys who don’t fit the stereotypes in all ways. (student) is, after all, one of the two most precious people in our lives.

Best regards

sign.

Brev til vertsfamilie / Dear host-family

Dear Host family:

My name is (student), and I will be 17 in November 2011. In this letter you will find information about me, my family, (home country) and the (home country) school.

About me:

I am 16 years old. My birthday is (date).

My favorite channels on TV are Discovery and National Geographic. I have learned a lot of stuff from them.

I like horse riding. I’ve been riding for about 10 years. Dancing is another of my hobbies. I’ve tried most of the forms most except hip-hop and break. I also like driving cars and riding bikes.

I’ve worked in a pet shop, a food store and a toy store. I love small children and I worked in a kindergarten for 2 days as part of a school assignment.

My best friend is 12 years old. His name is (friend). His grandparents live next-door, and I visit them a lot. They are like my spare grandparents. We like to discuss everything between heaven and earth. We find solutions to everything from bullying to environmental problems.

I am member in a political group named (name of group). I’ve also been on the student council.

My favorite subjects at school are English, Social Science and Math. The subject I like the least is Norwegian.

I love traveling, and I dislike sitting still. If I could decide, we would be on the move all the time from sunrise to sunset.  I am restless and almost nothing can happen soon enough. I love to be outdoor with friends and/or family especially when it’s warm outside.

I like playing cards. I love animals. That’s why I sold 200 boxes of cookies in order to help an animal shelter.

I try to stay healthy, so I am careful with what I eat and I try to exercise. Did I mention that I’m a vegetarian?

I love going to musicals. I also like going to the opera, ballet and other dance performances.

I used to take piano classes, and I have been in a drama club.

I’m environmentally conscious. I like environmentally friendly technology and things that slow down or can stop global warming. Taking care of the ecosystem that our earth is matters a great deal to me – even if I do things that aren’t always environmentally friendly.

I like to cuddle with my dog and to take it for walks. I love riding out in the nature and I love farms with animals. The woods are only about 300 yards from our home, and I like spending time there with my dog.

Something that is very important to me is equality. Sexual orientation, gender or age shouldn’t matter. Animals and humans should have nice lives now and in the future.

My blog is at (name of blog)

About my family:

My dad works as a (title) and has a (education). He’s worked for (place of employment) for over 20 years and he’s 53 years old.

I have a supermom who is 46.

My brother is attending his last year at high school.

I have a dog named (name of pet). 

Last year we had 6 guinea pigs, but one after one died until only one was left. We gave her to a home with another guinea pig. That way she wouldn’t be lonely.

About my country and city:

Norway has a population of about 5 million and it is a little bit bigger than Montana and a little smaller than California. Texas is one and a half times the size of Norway and has about five times the population of Norway.

About half an hour drive from the national airport (OSL, Gardermoen) and the same distance from Norway’s capital Oslo we live in a little area called Skjetten. Skjetten has a population of about 10 000 people.

Norway is mostly made up of mountains. Up north you can see the midnight sun and Aurora Borealis (the northern light).

The Norwegian school:

You start at the age of 6. We have 7 years of elementary school (Obligatory).  After that there are 3 years of junior high (Obligatory). Finally, 3 years of high school are recommended but not obligatory.

Our High School is a lot different from yours. Here you can choose if you want to go 3 years at school taking regular subjects. Or you can take 2 years of vocational studies and two years as a trainee in your chosen field. Choices are fields such as Mechanics or Food and Health.

My studies are called Service and Transportation the first year. After that I’ve chosen Transportation and Logistics. After school I can start to work as a trainee at a bus-, truck- or logistics company. During my studies I will get my car license and truck driver license from school.

Why I want to come to the US:

Some of my answers are the usual answers like: I want to improve my English skills, learn about another culture and another country. I also want to learn to see things from another perspective and I want to grow as a person. I don’t think it’s fair to leave it with that because it is not the whole reason. I’m going to call it my American dream.                                  

Love from (student) (16 years) from Norway.