Two weeks before we got to East Asia, one of our long-term partners was riding the bus on her regular schedule, and this gentleman came up to her and began to speak English. He was a director of a school, and he began to talk to her because she was a foreigner. As they spoke, they began to talk about students and cultural exchange. Our partner shared that several American students would actually be coming to visit them soon, and his response was, “Do you think some of them would stay with my students to help them with their English?” So we ended up partnering with them.
Very quickly, within two weeks, he had homes for us to stay in four different cities. What was really incredible about that was that it’s difficult to get any kind of intimate interaction with anyone, let alone families, let alone in cities that are much smaller.
When we got there our host families were just incredibly joyful to have us and were very good hosts. They invited us in, fed us ridiculously good food, and took care of us. They wanted to show us around and let our students experience their culture.