Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

October 12, 2012

SLS students experience a new culture




Host families

• Brad and Lori Nobbe and daughter Katie were interested in hosting Mary “to provide us with a unique experience and opportunity to learn about another culture, and hopefully to provide Mary with a welcoming place to stay,” reports Lori Nobbe. “One nice experience that we had was a day spent at Clifty Falls (State Park in Madison) with Mary, the other two female exchange students, the Chinese teacher and our family. We hiked and grilled out.  We also had a sleepover for the female students along with my daughter and three of her friends for my daughter’s birthday and Mary’s half birthday. It was very interesting to see the older Chinese girls interacting with the younger girls. From this experience, I think we have learned that people are more alike than different. I think it has helped us realize that there is a world outside of our own country. I have enjoyed e-mailing and sending photos of Mary to her parents and getting to communicate with them. If someone has the chance to host an exchange, they should definitely consider it. It does require some patience as different cultures do things differently, but it is a good experience.”

• Gino and Amanda Canessa and sons Marco and Leo are hosting Ann. The family says, “Amanda’s family had exchange students in their home while she was growing up. It was always a great experience. We wanted this experience for St. Louis and Batesville. We wanted to learn more about China ourselves. We love food, and so a lot of our experiences have centered around that. We have introduced Ann to Five Guys and Graeter’s as well as several local places and fast food. We went to Jungle Jim’s as well and have tried Chinese candies, different dumplings and black rice from China that Ann picked out for us. We have explored Indianapolis and Cincinnati. Ann has become involved in the Batesville Soccer Club as well as tae kwon do at the YMCA. Over fall break, we plan to go to Seattle, Wash., and Orange County, Calif. We have learned that teenagers are teenagers no matter where they grew up! We have learned a smattering of Chinese words, but much more about the culture.”

• David is living with the Chuck and Beth Stone family. Beth Stone admits, “I was amazed that their parents would let them come to our country and stay for three months at such a young age. I wanted them to feel wanted and accepted in our homes and community .... David has attended two weddings and got to watch a hog trough dance. We took him duck pin bowling in Indianapolis and to a Chinese festival. He attended a family reunion and got to hit a pinata. He has been able to play on a soccer team. He has attended a school dance and watched volleyball and football games. He roasted marshmallows. He has attended church each Sunday and gone to grandma’s house for breakfast.” She reveals, “Kids are kids. It doesn’t matter where they come from. They enjoy eating chocolate, playing video games, dancing and being with friends. They don’t like cleaning their rooms .... I think our world would be a better place if we could focus on what we share in common rather than how we are different.”

• The Dr. Jon and Jenny Geers family are hosts to Sam. “He goes by the nickname Spotty here in America,” Jenny Geers announces. “Our family welcomed Spotty into our home because we feel very blessed in our lives and want to be open to times Christ calls on us to share our blessings .... We have had many great experiences so far with Spotty.  His English is becoming more fluent and, as an only child in China, he is so joyful when he plays with our five children. It has been very interesting watching him learn to manage free time. His time is very structured in China, without much variation. Seeing him understand that he can make choices in his life has been very rewarding. The best part about this whole experience relates to our children. We feel this whole experience makes our children more accepting of others and their differences. During the first week Spotty was here, we had a cookout, where we served hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. I asked Spotty if he would like some macaroni and cheese and encouraged him to serve some to himself.  I watched with a smile on my face as he scooped some out, piled it on his hot dog and started eating it. My son could not suppress a smile. Alex backed away from the counter, looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and promptly added some mac and cheese to his own hot dog. Silly, but a proud moment for a parent! If you ever have a chance to provide shelter for anyone, you should follow your heart .... Taking Spotty into our homes was, in many ways, a leap of faith and we have been greatly rewarded.”


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