By Belinda, QSoE homestay host
Homestay Host….a title I never contemplated until 2007 when I applied to Queen’s School of English to become one. Who knew it would turn out to be one of the very best decisions of my life!! The hundreds of students I have met since then have enriched my life in numerous ways.
Much to my delight, my home has become a safe haven for the students who are placed with me, as well as many of their friends and classmates. My “open door” policy has become well known at QSoE and we seem to always have extras; some are lonely, some are homesick, some have problems, some need help with their homework and some just want to hang out; but all receive a warm welcome.
Two lifelong dreams of mine have been realized by being a homestay host: to travel and to have a large family. At the invitation of the families of some of my students, I have been to exotic, exciting and interesting places around the world: Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, France and Turkey! My “family” has continued to grow as some of my former students have married and now have children of their own; my “honourary grandchildren”. In 2012, I visited Turkey for the second time to attend a wedding in the family of my beloved former student and I revelled in all the traditions and the exotic ceremony of this event. Later the same year, I travelled to Korea to meet my Korean/Irish granddaughter. What an amazing experience!! This year, my extended family expanded again with births in Columbia and Hong Kong. More places to visit; more babies to cuddle!!
Who knew, when I filled out the Homestay application form that my life would change so much, be so enriched, so fulfilled, so much fun and challenging all at the same time. This is one of the best experiences I have ever had and I am looking forward to many more years and many more students!