This week is Host Family Appreciation Week at CIEE. We reached out to our host families and asked them to submit stories about how hosting has made a positive impact on their lives.
The Benefiel Family is from Columbus, IN. Their family is made up of host mom Shelley, host dad Jason, and two sons. This year, they are hosting Patricio (who goes by Pato) from Mexico. They have already selected their next student who will be arriving in August this year. Here is their story:
“We live in a rural, farming community in Indiana. We heard about the opportunity and had an extra bedroom that wasn’t being used and thought it sounded like a good fit for our family. We’ve learned a lot about the area he lives in and about his family and friends. His being with us has also taught me how to slow down and enjoy each moment as it comes. With busy schedules, it’s easy to forget that, but knowing we only have him for a few short months really made me slow down and just enjoy things while he has been with us.
Seeing things through his eyes has been a lot of fun. We have been most surprised by the relationship bonds that we’ve formed with him—he truly has become a son and a brother in our family. Our home is going to be much different when he goes back to Mexico. There’s definitely going to be a missing piece. He has formed a lot of friendships at school and on his sports teams. He has done some volunteer work while he’s been here as well. He has also been active in our church youth group while he’s been here.
We got the chance to meet Pato’s family when they came for a visit in January and they invited us down for a visit, so we are planning a trip this summer to spend a week with Pato and his family in Mexico. We hope to Facetime as often as we can, and hopefully he can come back and visit us when he can. There have been so many highlights to the year, but if I had to choose one, Thanksgiving would be it for me. We had a large family gathering and before lunch, we stood in a circle and everyone went around and said what they were thankful for. It was really special hearing Pato express how he felt about us and that he feels like he now has a second family. It was a very memorable day. Thank you for this opportunity to host. It has truly changed our lives!”
Thank you Benefiel family for sharing your story!
Interested in sharing your story about how hosting has impacted your life? Post on Facebook and Instagram, tagging it with #WhyIHost and #CIEEBestYearEver.
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