Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Positives of Housing Exchange Students

Many of my readers know that since 10/08, we have had three different foreign students living in our home, pretty much continuously, except for the summers. Obviously, there are positives and negatives to this arrangement, and every family is different, but we have had wonderful experiences with all of our adopted kids: Teresa from Guatemala, and Young Meen and Seung Gi from South Korea.
Tere, our Latin girl, was only here for 8 weeks. She was very outgoing and wanted to be involved in all that we were doing. She was here for a language/cultural immersion program, so studying wasn't a priority. We travelled quite a bit and I even got up early to go Black Friday shopping with her--something I will probably never do again!

Young Meen was with us for 2.5 years, and she and my daughter were like sisters by the time they graduated in May:

Seung Gi has been with us since the beginning of this school year. Like Young Meen, (and in our experience, most Asian students) he is quiet and prefers to spend much of his time alone in his room. I know this is bothersome to some families we have been in contact with, but we really don't see this as a negative, it is mostly a cultural difference.

How do we handle having a "stranger" in the house? Again, I know every family is different, but we essentially treat our students as we would a guest/boarder in that we don't feel we have to have the same rules for them that we have for our own kids. We only have three basic rules. They have to: eat (a minimum of) the evening meal with us, clean their room on Saturday, and go to church with us for one service a week. Unlike I would be with my own kids, I don't worry myself with how much time they are on the computer,  what they are eating, or how they doing with homework. IF any of these issues became a problem, I might worry, but these kids are here to get an American education-most have been away from home since middle school-and trust me, Asians are pretty self-motivated.

Are we compensated? With Tere, no; with the Asian students, yes. How much? Because our school has different agents that we work with, I am not able to divulge this information, but most pay a monthly stipend of at least $400. Anything $400 and under is non-taxable, more than that and you have to claim the difference.

So to sum it all up, having a foreign student in your home can be a very rewarding experience in many ways, a situation I would highly recommend!

Wednesday, November 30th, is that last day you can vote for me in the cheap sally contest. Thanks for all your help!

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