Hmm.. hosting a student from another country. It was an interesting thought. I first saw it posted in our church bulletin. It sounded like a really fun opportunity. I was a little nervous though. What if she didn’t like staying with us? What if she got homesick and I didn’t know what to do? Then I saw a post on Facebook looking for host families. I figured this was my calling and I needed to answer I went to the website and filled out the quick application–for fun–and to get the ball rolling. I wasn’t 100% sold on the idea yet. I was immediately contacted by Chase who wanted to talk more and he explained how it all worked. I pulled the family together for a meeting over dinner. Since Jordan was in the mainland for the summer, we would definitely have the space to host. McKenzie was really excited to have another girl to hang with. We agreed it was a go. We read through her application and knew that she was a sweet, easy going girl… one who liked normal girl things: movies, texting and friends. And we knew her name was Estelle and she was from France. I attended a quick informational meeting to understand all the things that the kids would be doing and what the three weeks would look like. We were getting excited to meet her! Finally the day came and all the families gathered at the Kahului airport to welcome these students. They were all smiles–even after a 20 hour fight! We greeted Estelle, found her suitcase and headed out to grab some dinner. I learned from emailing her mother a few days prior that Estelle was a vegetarian which is a good thing for our family–we don’t do much meat. We asked her if she would like to get sushi and she was thrilled–it’s one of her favorites! We laughed and learned while dining on some of Maui’s finest food. The days to follow were planned out to fill in the gaps of her itinerary through ACE. We started out her first day on Maui–the 4th of July–with snorkeling, swimming and SUP. The girls had a blast together. Estelle scored her first sunburn–even though she was so thorough about applying that sunscreen. The Maui sun is just different. It’s strong and it’s really hard to avoid when you are enjoying the great outdoors. We took her all over the place: Hiking, BBQ’s, a birthday party, swimming, shopping and exploring. She is one busy girl here.
So far these kids have visited south Maui, west Maui, Haleakala, Hana and the trip to Molokini is scheduled for tomorrow. They’ve surfed, hiked, paddled, swam, attended a luau, and spent many glorious hours at the beach! We’ve learned a lot from having Estelle here. She has become our french daughter and we are excited to keep in contact with her after she goes home. We have a few more days to hang and have fun and then they kids head home on Thursday. I’m already sad to think of her leaving. We won’t focus on that, we’ll focus on the fun things we’re gonna do this week!
Photo taken by Tenessa Cavitt of ACE international
If you’ve been thinking of hosting an exchange student, I say “do it!” Talk it over with your family and get ready to have fun and play tourist.
Contact Chase or Tenessa if you have any questions! They also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/aceinternationalhawaii?fref=photo
Till next time :)