In 2010, six months after I arrived in the USA for college, I decided to move out from my dorm room at the university. While looking for an apartment in the small town of Concordia, Kansas, I was lucky to befriend two very important people from my University; Steve - Head athletic Trainer - and and Jen Schroeder -Librarian Director -. These two invited me to their house as my hostfamily for as long as I wanted, and it was one of the most incredible experiences in my life.
Jen and Steve have three kids, Laken (11), Hunter (8) and Kale (3). Despite being only 18 years old, and never having a smilar experience before, I decided to accept their invitation and go live with them. It was a good deal for me, not only because of the “cheaper” housing, but also because of the chance I would get to “live the USA" through locals. And that is how my unique homestay experince began! I would always say yes to everything they wanted to do, weither it would be to show me things, take me to places or try new flavours and American food. I went hunting with my host dad, I played American Football and baseball with the kids in the backyard and helped my host mom dress and pick up the kids from school. I was living with Americans, which not only helped me improve my English, but also understand their culture and get more involved in the community.
Leaving with kids is also fun, because they are people who will always tell you the truth. Any English related mistake I would make, they would tell me and teach me, but even better than that, is that you can also teach them things. If someone ever told me that one day I would answer so many questions about Brazil, I don’t think I would believe them. During my entire life, I never answered as many questions as I did during those 6 months.
The life they provided me during those six months while staying with them was simply amazing. They treated me like a part of the family. I was playing football for the college, and some days when I arrived late at the city from an away game, they would pick me up without any problems, the kids would wait up to hug me and ask me how the game was and if our team lost they would hug me and say it was ok. They are people I will never forget and that I will always be thankful for. To this day I still speak with them and always try to plan trips so we can see each other.
After moving out of their house we kept in touch and I was very close to the family. We would have lunch or dinner, pick up the kids from school, had movie nights with them and go watch the kid’s games with my host parents. During my last year of College, when my parents came to visit me, I finally got the chance to get both my families together, my parents and my host parents. It was such an important moment for me and we had a really good time.
The time I spent with them was amazing and I cannot count how many good things they provided me, not only during those 6 months, but for my entire life. Living with a host family / homestay accommodation can sound challenging, but the list of good things you take from it is endless. It was one of the best times in my life and I definitely recommend it to everyone. People that are willing to open their houses to strangers are the most open minded and amazing people in the world and it’s a guarantee good time for you.
Gustavo from StayPlanet