7/17/2006 3:00:00 PM Guest Column Students from abroad bring the world home to us
By SUSAN GUBELMAN For the Daily News
Maybe, like me, you've yearned to experience the grandeur of Europe, the stateliness of Russia, the traditional customs of Asia.....
Lincoln Trail College offers us a simple way to do just that; to experience another culture. And guess what? We don't even have to leave our house. Families right here, right now, can provide a home for an international student.
Do you think you don't have much to offer?
Consider this: A single woman owns her business and works six days a week. She doesn't even own a computer and keeps her house as neat as a pin! She has played host to five female students through the years and still keeps in touch with all of them.
Do you think your kids are too young to get along with an 18-year-old?
Consider this: A father works full-time all hours of the day and a mother works full-time with regular hours. They have two daughters; one is 12 and the other is 7. This family added a young man to the mix this past school year and can't wait to play host to another student again this fall!
Are you too busy? Do you have too much going on?
Consider our family: My husband works many hours and is required to travel a few times a month. I am employed part-time and volunteer within the community. Our teenaged daughter is involved in after-school activities and volunteering, spends much (too much!) time on her social life, and is just learning how to drive. Our middle-school-aged son belongs to several organizations and is usually absorbed in computer games whenever possible.
Does it sound as if we had time to add another family member? Probably not. But we took the opportunity to open our home to an international student.
Uyen Lam, a young lady from Vietnam, joined our family in August, 2005. It was a hectic time, as we had just moved into our new home two weeks before her arrival. Nothing was put away quite right (we still have unpacked boxes!) and we were far from organized.
The Gubelman children are not the adventurous type; they rarely step outside their comfort zone to experience the world around them. So we brought the world to them through Uyen. We have met students from all over the world and invited them into our home. Did they care if we had boxes lying around? Did they care if we served meals on paper plates? Did they care if dinner consisted of frozen pizza? Did they mind if the windows were smudged? I don't think so. They cared about friendship and being a part of a typical family.
There are opportunities for you, right here, right now.
One young man from Belgium needs a family. He helps his own family renovate their farmhouse, camps on vacations and enjoys reading (especially Harry Potter).
Another Korean male student has already served in the military (as required in his country), and enjoys sports, especially basketball.
A Korean female student dreams of becoming a kindergarten teacher and sings in her church choir. She enjoys household chores and is looks forward to preparing Korean food for her host family.
There are others on waiting lists for families. These kids need families just like ours, just like yours. We opened our home and Uyen entered our hearts. Nothing will ever be quite the same; we have new eyes with which to view our world and another family member forever. Please consider experiencing the world by providing a home for these young people. They need us; they need you. And we need them; right here, right now. If you have questions about becoming a host, please call Debbie Wolfe at Lincoln Trail College, 544-8657. You'll experience the world like never before.