My children have never left Canada, actually, they have barely left Ontario (we did drive over to Quebec a few times for lunch and cheap beer!)…but they can say hello in 5 languages. They also show off their Pokemon and Hello Kitty stuffed animals from Japan and their Brazilian soccer ball to anyone who comes to the door.
North Bay, Ontario is a very small, sheltered, safe and simple town. By hosting international high school students our family has been able to travel the world without going through Customs, experiencing traveller’s diarrhea or losing our luggage! It is sometimes challenging sharing your house with teenagers who speak very little English, are away from their families, and have grown up with very different cultures, but the benefits are endless.
Just last week we spent one hour on Skype meeting a girl from Germany who will be living with us next year! We have hosted 2 students from Japan, 1 student from Spain, 1 from France, and our wonderful host-daughter Juliana from Brazil will be leaving us in one week! We have learned how to try new foods and be polite even if we don’t like it, how to ask someone to repeat themselves without sounding rude, how to repeat ourselves without sounding annoyed, how to include someone who is too shy or nervous to join in, how to ask questions instead of just talk about ourselves, to appreciate the home and lifestyle we have, that colouring, playing cards or going for a hike is fun in any language, that everyone loves donuts, and that if you work really hard at something you will make yourself very happy.