Dear members of the Host Family Program, amazing Bay Area families and wonderful International House students, this is my love letter to you.
In the past two months I’ve put all my efforts into building a new, warm, welcoming, interesting, caring Host Family Program. I have studied your applications day and night, I have called you, emailed you, studied your profiles trying to learn your preferences, needs and expectations. I have thought of all possible ways to appreciate the volunteer work of our host families and individuals and to communicate this opportunity to I-House residents.
While at the Front Desk I have talked to “my” beloved students, trying to guess their thoughts about the Program and their experience here in Berkeley. I have discovered another beautiful group of residents that will fill my working days in the next months and I am so grateful and happy for this.
Then when the time came, and all the hosting families and residents applications were ready, I have put all of myself into the “matchmaking” process!
I have carefully chosen what I think could be the best matches between families and students. I have imagined for each and every host and student the moment you’ll meet and the feelings you’ll have. That very special moment in which a stranger will become a guest, and then a friend, and hopefully an additional family member. I am sure you’ll have fun together and I’ll be always here if you’ll have any need or request once this new life adventure starts.
I myself can’t wait to host my three “I-House new family members” and share with them food, conversations and everyday life in my home, with my family.
These have been amazing (although quite tiring weeks), but here we are. On Sunday, September 14 from 4 to 6 pm in the beautiful International House Heller Patio, we’ll finally all meet and celebrate together our love for hospitality. We are a special community, my friends, as we firmly believe hosting and being hosted leads to learning and to better understanding our complicated world.
I am sure we all value this opportunity as a chance to broaden our horizons and…why not, give back what we have received in the past.
Many of our Host Family Program members have been hosted themselves in the past. I am one of them: I had the privilege to be welcome in a beautiful (I-House!!) family when I first arrived in the US with my husband and son. Those are wonderful memories and led to a long lasting friendship.
And now here we are, all of us, ready to celebrate the warm feeling that comes from hospitality itself. I believe few things are more rewarding and challenging than opening our home door the very first time we meet our guests, ready to share our daily life and welcome whoever comes to our home, ready to change our believes and thoughts or acquire new ones with an open mind and a open heart.
Believe me, I can’t wait for all of us to start this adventure. This part of my job represents the very essence of who I am and what I have done so far and I truly love it.
With an open mind and an open heart I will be at I-House on Sunday afternoon to welcome you all and start this beautiful adventure. Together.