By: Jillian Sims, HSP Marketing and Operations Manager

For Al and his family, hosting an exchange student wasn’t something they considered until recently. Their family was rather involved in Al’s recovery from major heart surgery and raising their three sons.

Somehow though, they found themselves hosting a short term student for a few weeks in the summer of 2014, which turned out to be just the answer to a slightly emptier nest when their eldest left for college. Always active, despite dealing with new health challenges, Al was quick to involve the student in his family’s active lifestyle and filled his few weeks in the states with numerous activities, all laid out on a spreadsheet for his student.

In February of 2015, after having had such a great previous hosting experience, the family looked to the future and began their search for another exchange student to join their family. This time though, the family would host a Japanese student for a full year, as his family became increasingly interested in this culture. Still, not just any student would do! The family delved deep into the profiles to find the right fit or their family. Finally, they settled on Keishiro after finding out, among other similarities, that his natural father had experienced similar health problems and would therefore be familiar with the health challenges facing his host family.

However, that isn’t to say that Al and his family aren’t ambitious and impressive in their plans and adventures with Keishiro. Al, as he did with his short term student, set out to make another spreadsheet.

“Before Keishiro arrived we already had a 42 weekend schedule of activities planned.”

The spreadsheet is impressive and somewhat daunting. Al explains that the family has three goals for Keishiro’s trip and it includes visiting all 9 California National Parks, exploring historical monasteries in the region, and hiking at least 100 miles as a family.

For Al and his family, hiking has been a tradition since 2005, but even family traditions can become a bit stale. An exchange student has been the perfect refresher. Al says “It’s no surprise that my boys are burned out hiking the same trails. Keishiro brings us renewed energy and appreciation.” Though it has only been a couple of months since his arrival, Al assures there is no slowing down of adventures for the family.

“There is no such thing as a three month honeymoon period for us. Every weekend IS a honeymoon until he departs.”

At CCI Greenheart, we can’t wait to hear all about their continued adventures. Ready to explore your backyard with your exchange student? Learn more today!