Can you imagine traveling across the globe at the age of 14 to go to high school in another country and new language? At Campion this year, we have 15 international students hailing from China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Japan, and Latvia. Several local families have opened their hearts and their homes to be these students’ second families either as full-time host families or local guardians to dorm students. Hosting a student from a widely different cultural background is an enriching experience, and families find it to be genuinely rewarding.
Hosting international students is a unique opportunity to share Christ with students who come from non-Christian backgrounds by loving them as Christ does. Our host families may never have traveled to another country, but the mission field has come into their homes.
Teresa Johansen has hosted students from China full-time for the past two years, and this year she hosts two boys, Canson Chen and Tommy Liang. The boys share a room in her house and she provides them with meals each day, connects with them, and takes care of them as she would her own sons. “Opening my home up to international students has meant getting outside my comfort zone at times, but I have decided that I want to help these kids feel welcomed and accepted into my family and our community. If it were my own children going to another country, I would want them to be treated the same way,” she reflects. She adds that it has been a rewarding experience for her as “getting to know the students’ individual personalities and having them in my home has added a whole new dimension to my family.”
Guardian families give international students living in the dorm a local connection to a family. They usually host the student during school home-leaves and serve as the parent-connection for events such as parent-teacher conferences. Marilyn Jackson has been the local guardian for Rain Li, a sophomore from China, for the past two years. “We’ve really enjoyed being guardians. Rain is a great student, he’s always polite, kind, and helpful. It’s been fun to see his English improve; at first he relied a lot on his translator, and we’d have fun trying to figure out how to communicate, but now he understands nearly everything.”
The students have a lot to share with our families and school as well. “I’d highly recommend being a local guardian or host family,” says Jackson. “Even though many of these kids are very well-off, you wouldn’t know it by how they act and treat other people. They are very thoughtful and helpful. We’ve learned so much about the Chinese culture and have gotten to eat delicious Chinese food!”
Other families who host students or serve as guardians include; the Harlow family, the Hill family, the Helm family, and the Marin family.
Campion is in need of more families to be hosts and guardians for the 2018-2019 school year. At this time, we have three potential students from Vietnam who are interested in applying and would need full-time host families.
If you are interested in hosting full-time, please contact Jill Harlow (firstname.lastname@example.org), or in being a local guardian, please contact Dean Helm (email@example.com).
[written by Jill Harlow]