For many years I have organized homestays for American „student ambassadors“ who journey across Europe for three weeks with the „People to People“ organization. This year I decided to organize guest families for a „junior group“ for the first time. Among our students from 2nd to 5th forms, more than enough were willing to welcome an American child/youngster into their home for three days at the end of June, so I could soon give them the email-addresses of their future guests.
On Wednesday, June 25th, 46 „student ambassadors“ aged 11 to 15 arrived at our school and were picked up by their host-families. Together with our students the guests had to attend school on the following two days before being picked up again on Saturday morning to continue their journey.
To my great surprise and contrary to previous years, my phone stayed silent for the length of their stay. None of the families reported any cases of homesickness or other minor troubles that could be expected with a group so large and so young! Even though the guests didn’t understand any German, they also got on very well during the lessons, because our students (especially the younger ones!) explained a lot to them in English and the teachers were very pleased with the way the youngsters related to each other.
Unfortunately, I have just been given the bad news that it will not be possible to host another group next summer, as the People to People has terminated their cooperation with PDM-tourism, who organized these homestays with us. I don’t know yet if student ambassador groups will travel to in our region at all but I will do my best to find out. Having these children has been a wonderful experience which we wouldn’t want to miss.
Mag. Karin Prögler-Rössler