Meeting the parents!

Meeting the student’s parents can get a little tricky as the encounter sometimes comes loaded with unreasonable expectations and special requests.   Margaret Amos, a first time host in Montreal had the opportunity to meet her student’s parents, and discovered they had more in common than what meets the eye.

Here’s her story:

We had the great pleasure of meeting Birkoff’s parents and grandmother upon his arrival in August.  Meeting his family gave us a great sense of who Birkoff is and where he is coming from in terms of family values and it also helped to alleviate any concerns prior to Birkoff’s arrival.  We were able to enjoy a meal together whilst sharing about our backgrounds and lives, and communicating their expectations for Birkoff while on this exchange. Suffice it to say, Birkoff and his family are delightful!

Within minutes, Birkoff and my oldest son, Lakelin (16 years old) were inseparable and within hours it felt like we acquired another member of our family.  Birkoff has settled in very well and my only concern now is how hard it will be for everyone when he leaves.

Aside from getting used to new routines and preparing for school, we had some time to explore Montreal with our student, showing him around the sights like Mont-Royal, the local library, gym and more recently, we took him apple picking.

There is a constant exchange of stories, language, culture and photos.  Whilst there are some cultural challenges to overcome such as different meal times, snacks etc,  it’s best to approach these with compassion and open clear communication to ensure he is happy.  We also try to be open to trying new foods that will bring comfort and familiarity to Birkoff  – and now, we all love lime on everything we eat!

We are grateful to have Birkoff in our home and as a part of our family. We could not have asked for a better match or experience so far.  I am grateful for all of the ongoing support that CHN has maintained throughout this integration process. It has been an enriching experience all around!