The Weber Family (Michigan) and Stéphane from Switzerland
Our AFS hosting adventures began in 2011 when we welcomed Stéphane from Switzerland into our home for his year-long AFS exchange. We were brand new to hosting, as well as new to parenting teenagers (our boys were 10 and 7 when he arrived) so we experienced all of the "newness" right along with Stéph as he settled into our home. The surprises and cultural learning started early for all of us! When Stéphane first heard that he was placed with our family, he initially thought the abbreviation MI for Michigan meant that he was going to Miami (wishful thinking!) And his friends teased him about moving to a farm when he read the description of our home as a "ranch"-style house! (Although, as you can see by the picture, we do live in a rural area and had a garden and chickens when he was with us). Even the ride home from his arrival orientation held some funny "firsts" for him as he marveled at the amount of pickup trucks on the highway and wondered how we knew who's turn it was to go at a blinking red light. For our family, the cultural moments came in small moments of learning, such as when we were camping on our first weekend together with a large group of people and someone burped loudly at the campfire... Stéphane practically fell out of his chair, he was so surprised! Manners are important to the Swiss, and it took some time for him to get used to the less-than-formal manners of our family and friends, but also made us more conscious of being polite.
Stéphane is now in medical school back in Switzerland and has not had the opportunity to come back to visit yet. We would love a reunion with him!
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