Milena from Germany stayed with the Knight Family in Clarkston, Michigan. Milena believes that her exchange experience was life-changing. She is also very thankful that her host family was always there for her.
My host family is the best because they invited me- a totally strange person- into their home, showed patience by explaining everything to me, and -the most important thing- accepted me for what I am.
Since I arrived here, I have grown a lot. In my host family but also as a person. I am very thankful for that! I could follow the forming of our relationship which was really interesting. It took a lot of work and time to get to where we are now.
First I was a little shy and did not talk a lot. The relationship with my host parents was more facile. But with the time I got to know them better. Soon I also had a great relationship with my host sister. It started when we were working on a project outside in the yard. Together we had to solve a problem and managed to do it, and that really helped us to get to know each other and form a connection.
My host sister and I had a lot of fun together and created a whole page of inside jokes. We both enjoyed having someone our age around. After a couple months our relationship turned from being good friends into being sisters. We have great moments but also times when we don’t do a lot together.
The relationship with my host parents also became a lot better after some time. The many conversations with my host father tightened our relationship and the first hug from my host mother also helped us to get closer.
Besides integrating into a new family I also learned a lot about American Culture. Americans celebrate different Holidays and I am very glad that I got to experience these events together with my host family.
The first unfamiliar holiday was Thanksgiving. On that day, the whole family came to our house and we had a lot of fun and really good food. The next different holiday was the celebration of Christmas Day on the 25th instead of Christmas Eve. New Years Eve was probably the most exciting event because we were in New York City and saw the Ball Drop.
Once I was asked if “I was dropped at the right door sill” and I said “Yes, definitely!!” My host family has had a huge impact on my life. Here I learned important things for my life; little things and big things. I found out what I really want and what the I value the most.
When I go back to my home country I would like to change some things in my life. I hope to do things differently than before, things that I never really paid attention to. I learned how important it is to treat people with respect and I especially want to be nicer to my mother.
It is amazing how my host family included me in their life and what touches me the most is that my host parents treat me like their own daughter and that my host sister and host parents are always there for me and always willing to listen to me. I am very thankful for that, and altogether there is no word meaningful enough to say the “Thank You” that they deserve!