March 16, 2015: The Students Return from Homestays

My job often has me traveling overseas. Recent travels have seen me in England, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, China, Denmark and Sweden to name a few. Part of the fun is meeting new people, experiencing different cultures, and overcoming the challenges that inevitably crop up around a foreigner in a foreign land.
 
Without fail on each and every trip, I find myself wishing I could have a deeper connection with locals that is denied me because of my natural “outsider” status. During this trip I’m amazed (and incredibly jealous) that the TIS kids enjoy – and have earned – the coveted insider status due to their language abilities and adaptability.
 
That status is what I dared dream of for my daughter when we made the decision 8 years ago to have her attend TIS. That goal was so tantalizingly close when Keeli departed with her host family the first Saturday. It’s why I was proud to have an ear-to-ear grin as I read her blog post – “The first night it was really hard and I thought 'How am I going to stay here for a whole week?’ But then we had a lot of fun on Sunday, and I don’t miss my parents anymore.”
 
It was that personal growth and confidence that was evident in all the kids when we received them back on Friday after their homestays. There were different looks in their eyes, different assuredness in their actions, different tenors in their voices. They were forever changed by their language- and cultural-immersion experiences.
 
We heard of their good manners, bright dispositions and terrific Spanish skills from the host families. We saw families sad to let them go after such a short time. We saw hugs and cheerful high fives with host sisters and brothers. We saw the impact they made and the lives they touched. We saw insiders.
 
- Peter Guilfoyle, TIS Parent

Keeli leaves with her host family

 

Keeli and  her host family

Keeli and  her host family