Being a host family is one of the best things we have done. Not only have we been able to help a child but we have had a lot of fun along the way. It has also enabled us to make new friends.
Typically we drop our child off in the morning and pick her up again in the evening.
She has wonderful days but it is always lovely to see her happy and pleased to be back with us. She loves playing board games after her days away and always manages to get her intent across even though she speaks no English. Google Translate is a godsend sometimes though!
Luckily we get to spend all weekend with our child which is fantastic. We focus on activities that bring us together as a family; these usually involve a trip to the park, a cycle ride or kite flying. Good friendships have been formed with other host families and we meet up for picnics and BBQs. Our child is with us for 4 weeks which sounds like a long time but it simply flies past and before you know it she is back on a plane heading home.
It is rewarding seeing her come out of her shell both during a single visit and over the 3 years she has been visiting.
Laurence, aged 7:
The best thing is I get to have a sister for 4 weeks. We do crazy things like water fights and playing chase. We also love riding our bikes and flying the kite. In the evenings it is fun to play board games like snakes and ladders; this has helped me to count in Russian. At dinner time, Sofia teaches me the Russian names for food. I am quite good but Mummy and Daddy sound very funny. At bedtime we share stories and this is another time for me to learn Russian. She teaches me the Russian names for the animals in the stories. I love it and have lots of fun; I feel sad when she goes home.
We have fun cooking which has helped her to eat more varied food