I welcomed my 18th and 19th students from Germany and The Netherlands to Scottsboro, giving them the grand tour of our beautiful county.
If you had told me I would still be hosting 10 years later when I picked up my first student from the airport, I would have laughed. Who would have thought of the possibilities I’ve gained through hosting?
I have met 19 students from seven countries and most of their families. I’ve had the opportunity to visit five of those countries and build life-long relationships. Juan, a former student visiting from Spain, returned home last week after a one-month trip back to Scottsboro. Juan attended Scottsboro High School during the 2017-2018 school year.
My new students, Jonah and Mees, are fitting in nicely. They have started to become accustom to the free refills, insanely large food portions at restaurants, as well as the exhausting heat and humidity of Alabama.
As the start of school approaches, we have endured the usual necessities of the enrollment process…health certificates, sports physicals, selecting classes, meeting new friends, teachers and coaches. Last weekend the boys were also introduced to half of my family. For those of you who know me and my family, that is an adventure in itself.
For now, we are getting use to each other’s personalities. I try not to scare them with my rules too soon. But as with any family, I do have expectations and rules that will need to be followed. However, I also try to make sure they have a comfortable and enjoyable experience while in America.
We will plan several trips together. Some will be day or weekend trips and others will be to visit Washington D.C. That is a highlight for many students, which also gives me the pleasure of showing off our American history.
Scottsboro has also welcomed several other exchange students over the last several weeks. Some families are experienced, while other families are new to the program. These new families are excited to share their family with an eager teenage student, while introducing their family to another culture.
I’ll also be welcoming back one of my former students, Jonathan, in a few months. I tell everyone he is coming back for my birthday. He is telling everyone he is coming back for the smorgasbord of food on Thanksgiving and the chaos of Black Friday.
For now, I will learn the personalities of Jonah and Mees and they will learn my personality. We will learn who is better at helping cook dinner and who is better at helping clean the dishes afterwards. I’ll discover who I have to drag out of bed in the morning and who I need to buy extra cereal for each week.
Despite this being the first week of school, my kitchen table is covered in calculus, physics, history and English homework. The boys’ rooms have started to smell like a locker room and the dirty dishes are filling the dishwasher. Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Brent Miller is the publisher of The Jackson County Sentinel. He can be reached at email@example.com.