We have a whole second extended Swedish family… we’ve traveled and stayed with them and they with us many times over the years. We even have a Japanese-Swedish connection where one year when we had two Japanese students and found out that one of the Swedish students really wanted to make a connection and visit Japan… so we had all at the same time! A great time and memories for all!
- Eric S
I have 5 lovely “Swedish daughters” that I keep in touch with. This is a great program! Wonderful kids. My 2 sons went to Scandinavia this summer and meet up with the girls and visited other family. This is such a nice opportunity! Lisa is very organized and makes this easy!
- Kathy B
We participated for the first time last year, and I’m kicking myself for having waited so long! Shadi has definitely become a member of the family—actually, that happened the first weekend she was with us!—and yes, the tears flowed when she left. The demands on our time were minimal, while the pleasures were immense. We had just become empty nesters, and it was utterly charming to have a thoughtful, funny, engaging 18 year old in the house again!
- Melissa K
Hosting a Swedish student has been an incredibly enriching experience for my family two years running. We have signed up for a third year.
Our first student, Viktor, fit into the family like he'd been there all along. He got our sense of humor and teased us right back. He'd never been exposed to dogs and discovered that he was a dog person; in fact, he demanded lap time with our little dog every evening. And without Victor's keen eye for fashion, we would have continued our bland fashion-challenged ways. He taught the boys in the house to embrace color and me to think a bit more carefully before throwing on just any old thing in the morning. He's talked of visiting again – we email regularly - and he knows he always has a California place to crash.
Marta joined our family last spring and we quickly fell in love with her fun, positive and inquisitive personality. By the time she left I felt like I was saying goodbye to my own daughter. Yes, there were tears. We can't wait to see her again – either in Sweden or when she returns to the U.S.
If you have children at home, they will learn so much from this experience. My son (high school age) felt like both Viktor and Marta were siblings after five short weeks; he chats with both of them frequently.
As for time commitment, it's really not overwhelming – and I'm a super busy person. The students need to get to campus and home four days a week. Other host families help out with rides and can take your student on days or weekends that are difficult for your family to host. There are planned (yet optional) trips to a Giants Game and a day on Angel Island. The rest of the time it's up to you to show your Swedish student a glimpse of American life and some local sights. Some families stay close to home, while others take weekend trips to SF or Yosemite.
Hope you will consider hosting.
- Anne B