Foreign Exchange Student Fills Life With Joy

Laura Jafri

Laura Jafri

Life Can Be Overwhelming, But…
There are so many things in life that can be rewarding. Life is so busy and can pass us by like a blur. In my own personal circumstances, I feel very overwhelmed with the demands that my life presents. I have five young children who are very busy. Most of my time is dedicated to running them around and making their lives “go.” Add to that, two children with special needs. That, in and of itself, is a full-time job. Children, marriage, and having my own business make my life very busy and stressful. Despite all the stress, these are also the things that make my life feel fulfilled.  

People may think that I’m crazy, and maybe I am. It seems that I always take more on. One of those extra things that I took on this year was adding another child to our family. In February, we had a foreign exchange student from Sweden move in with us for six months. We didn’t know what to expect. Who would it be? What would they be like? What kind of changes would it bring to our family dynamics?

Welcome Home
We welcomed an 18 year-old Swedish “daughter” to our house in February. None of us knew what she would be like. It was a bit of a risk considering that it’s a six month commitment. She was nervous and we were anxious. I can’t imagine being 18, traveling half way across the globe and moving into a stranger’s home. She also didn’t know what to expect from us — what a brave move on her part!

Getting To Know Our New Daughter
We spent the first few weeks getting to know each other. She seemed quiet or nervous; I can’t imagine being her. It is incredible to me how attached I have become to her already, just after two short months. Our instructions were to treat her like she was one of our own children. It hasn’t been hard at all. She is such a wonderful person and has brought such an amazing experience to our family. We take her to school, pick her up and take her to all of her soccer practices. I go to her games and I find no difference for how passionate I am for her as I do for my own children. 

She isn’t that shy, nervous girl anymore. She has fit into our family like a glove. We have so much fun with her. I can’t imagine missing one of her soccer games. I love her and worry about her as if I have known her forever. I am already dreading having to give her back.

Open Your Heart
There are many organizations that offer this type of opportunity to Owosso families. Our exchange student came to us through the Owosso Rotary Club. It is something that Ayaz and I had always wanted to do. When the opportunity came up this year, we were excited to do it. I’m so glad that we did. Maybe we got lucky with such a smart, kind and wonderful student. For us, she has been a wonderful addition to our family.  I truly love her and I’m so glad we did this.  I highly recommend people consider taking in an exchange student. It has been so rewarding for all of us to love and learn all about her. I know that I will be crying on her graduation day and I can’t think about the day she’ll leave. 

I wanted to share with you how amazing this has been for us. I really recommend it to the right people. If you open your home and your heart to a child, it is amazing the rewards you get in return. 

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