By Jillian Sims; High School Programs Marketing and Operations Manager

When American high school student, Allison, found out that her friend was going to be hosting an exchange student, she knew it was a great idea and asked her parents to if they could do the same. This turned out to be the perfect time and excuse, since host mom, Rita, says “I always wanted to have an exchange student.”

Before they knew it, the family was picking out their perfect match in Maria from Norway. On choosing Maria, Rita says, “It was easy. She was active, focused on school work and had a good sense of humor as we could see from her writings.” Since then, the family has had too many good memories to count.

One such memory enriches both the student and family’s experience and that was the creation of a bucket list for their student. Again, Allison was inspired by a friend’s idea to make a bucket list for their exchange student and she and Maria set out to make a plan for her new sister’s exchange year in Arizona. The two gathered a few markers and used the sliding mirror doors in Maria’s room to make a list.

Maria shares some of the items she has already checked off her list: “go to the lake, Liberty Market, Grand Canyon, go to a football game, go Salt River tubing, San Tan hiking, eat a ‘Pizookie’ at Oregano’s, and visit Flagstaff. After the coming Saturday, I will also be able to check off Homecoming.”

Though it is still early in the year, the family is off to a great start and thoroughly enjoying their adventure. Allison shares her feelings on hosting Maria so far:

“I love, love, love hosting Maria! She is so funny and cool and it is great because I don’t think we could’ve been a better match. I honestly think that we are long lost sisters because we are so similar. We both love food and sports and just love to have fun and party. I’m excited for this year and never want it to end ….To anyone thinking about hosting, I would recommend it 110% because it will be a new experience for everyone and you will have a great time doing it.”

Maria echoes Allison’s feelings and shares, “My husband and I have been ‘delighted’ by the entire process. It has enriched our family’s lives and exceeded all our expectations!”

Want your own bucket list year with a student? Consider hosting with CCI Greenheart!