As a parent, you want to ensure your child’s family stay abroad will be safe, fun and life-changing in all the right ways. Jackie, parent of Sophia, a past France program participant, told us how attitude made the biggest impact on her daughter’s experience.
“In preparing to send Sophia on the trip to France, I was very careful to be sure not only that this was something she really wanted to do, but also that she made it her own by working and contributing to the expense of the trip. I encouraged her to “do her very best” starting with completing the Xperitas application, writing the host family letter and preparing for her trip by expecting her to attend all the meetings. I encouraged her to be thoughtful about the host family gift she would give, and finally encouraged her to really work on her language skills. Sophia understood the importance of being a good ambassador of the USA.
Xperitas did a great job at matching Sophia to her host family. Sophia and her host family have developed a strong, lasting relationship and continue to correspond almost on a daily basis. They even correspond with me!
Overall I think the reason Sophia had such a great experience is because she was truly interested in getting the most out of the trip by committing to speak the language, explore the cuisine, learn the history and live the culture. This trip was a wonderful opportunity for Sophia and money well spent! Sophia gained a greater perspective of the French people and the rich history and culture of France.”
Sophia also shared her perspective on how attitude made a difference for her.
“My host family was great! We did everything together, and they were very patient. My family was also very inclusive. I may not have understood them the whole time, but the love was very obvious! I don’t have any memory of living in a family that had both a mother and a father, and it was a new experience to have a family such as this! I also am the only girl in my family, so to have three sisters, it was AWESOME!!
My host father was a chef, and my host mother stayed home. My sisters were: Emilie, 16, Julie, 14, and Marine, 10. It was really cool, because they were all around my age! I think the best part about being with this family was that they actually spent time with me and talked to me. We ate every meal together. They also shared with me the history of their area, which was really cool.
I know that if I ever come back to France, I will have someone to stay with and a delicious meal every night! They made me promise to come back! My host family telephoned me the day after I returned to America to see how my flight was. They also called me on my birthday! It meant a lot to me! We keep in contact through Facebook. They are even learning English so they can come visit me in two years! I will never forget them! They have impacted my life forever!”