My family and I live in Brooklyn, NY. We are fortunate enough to have a home with a little extra room which we have put to good use by hosting foreign exchange students for a school year. Our past students have been from Verona Italy, Frankfurt Germany, San Juan Argentina, Paris France and La Serra Italy. This year we will be hosting our sixth student, Kotoko from Osaka, Japan.
We were not planning on hosting this year, however I am a volunteer with AFS, the organization who sponsors the students. Three weeks ago I received an email from AFS stating that they still needed homes for 300 students. If these students did not receive placement they are in jeopardy of not being able to start their exchange year. I mentioned this to my son who immediately suggested we should host again. You don’t have to ask me twice, i love hosting students. We presented the idea to my wife, and with a bit of cajoling she was on board as well.
We were then presented with a handful of potential students and quickly selected Kotoko. We have never hosted a student from Asia, my son studied Japanese for a year, and she had a lovely application.
These kids are extremely brave. They come to a new country, enter into a new culture, live with a family they never met, attend a school which teaches in a new language, etc. The challenges are daunting. It is amazing to see how quickly they successfully learn the language, establish family, cultural, community ties, develop friendships and build a robust life!
Kotoko has been quiet but she is absorbing the culture and language. She watches movies on Netflix with subtitles. Pauses the movie and notes vocabulary she does not understand. I assure her that by Halloween she will be fully conversational. I look forward to hearing all she has to say!
Kotoko’s second day, visiting my studio to check out a fashion shoot!
First day at school
Attending a runway show at New York Fashion Week
Gotta visit Times Square!