kimhegel.com
 

Al's Testimonial - Host Parent

Bela came to us in February of 2011, we had volunteered to take her in for the weekend due to the fact that her other living arrangements were not working out.  She arrived on Saturdayafternoon, settled into her room and went to dinner with us.  We attended a wedding that evening and Bela joined us.  The next morning after attending church we went out of town to visit a parent, Bela went with.  By Sunday night, she was part of the family.  On Monday we just could not let her leave.  She was 8,000 miles from home, 16 years old and had the determination to finish out her commitment to spend a full school year in Bismarck.  Within days we had adjusted to having a student back in the house.  We had been “empty nesters” for a few years now as all 4 of our children were out of college already.

Over the next 3 months having Bela in our house was as natural as any of our other children.  She went with us when we went visiting, just like any teenager would do.  She had her own friends, all of whom were special to her and very kind to us.  One in particular, Pablo, another exchange student from Spain was very close and very good friends with her.  When his host family went our of town for long weekends, Pablo would stay with us. 

Bela left to go home to Rio De Jenero, Brazil on June 2, 2011.  This was during the height of the Missouri River Flooding in the spring.  Pablo’s family had evacuated their house about a week before Bela left and Pablo came to stay with us.  Bela left a week before Pablo went home so we had the pleasure of hosting Pablo for his final 2 weeks in America.

Our son got married in October of 2011 and Bela and her Mom, Dad and Brother came to the wedding.  We were lucky enough to get pictures taken in October so we could include Bela in our family’s Christmas Card that year, on subsequent trips we were able to get pictures again to keep her in our family pictures.  Our daughter got married in August of 2012 and again Bela returned for the wedding.  In May of 2013 we welcomed a grandson to the family and Bela made a trip to see us again in August of 2013 to spend a week with the whole family on a summer vacation at the lakes in Minnesota.  July of 2014 brought Bela and her whole family to see us again, just for vacation.  Our oldest son and his family in Minneapolis had the opportunity of spending an extra day of Bela’s vacation in Minneapolis when She and her Family spent a few days in Minneapolis on their way home from Bismarck.  That is what happens when you are family.  When Bela’s mother left, she did promise us we would see them again.

Bela has not missed giving us a call on our Birthdays, Anniversary or Mothers and Fathers Day.  She is definitely a huge part of our family and the experience was amazing.  Our oldest granddaughter, who is 9 years old calls Bela her “Big Sister” and Bela calls our kids her brothers and sisters.  The loving experience we had has made the experience all the more fulfilling and we have never regretted the opportunity that we had and took advantage of when Bela became part of our family.

Bela’s younger brother is attending school in Vancouver BC this fall and we are sure that we will have the opportunity to see him when he is here in North America.

During Bela's stay with us we learned about her culture in her food likes, family traditions during holidays and even learned some of her language.  She was always very willing to try our foods and many to her liking.  She kept in close daily contact with her family which indicated to us that they were a very close caring  family which is very important to any young kids studying  abroad. 
The experience of sharing your life and home with an exchange student was much more rewarding than we could have imagined and we are so happy we finally took advantage of the opportunity. It was something we had discussed years before when our children were still at home and in school, we just never exercised the opportunity.  I would encourage everyone to give it a try.

Al and Patti Wangler
Host parents of Bela

kimhegel@gmail.com

line break
Home Thinking about Hosting? Al's Story - Host Family Beatrice's Story - Exchange Student Blake's Story - Friend of Exchange Student Julian's Story - Exchange Student Maria's Story - Host Family
line break
line break
Laura's Comments Dia's Story - Host Family Nicole's Thought Returning Home
line break
Exchange Students Waiting To Be Placed
line break
Ander from
Mexico
Andrea from
Mexico
Bruno from
Spain
Carmen from
Spain
Francisco from
Spain
Hyun from
Germany
Isaac from
Spain
line break
line break
Kurmet from
Kazakhstan
Louisa from
German
Olatz from
Spain
Shuhei from
Japan
Thitiphat from
Thailand
Yubo from
China
Juan from
Mexico
line break
line break