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Council for Educational Travel, USA

CETUSA is dedicated to the mission of "reaching out to encourage a lifelong journey of global peace and understanding." We support this mission through the implementation of exchange programs for high school students - both American and international - and trainee and internship programs for university students/young professionals. This blog space is meant to continue the conversation on the value of education through experience - more specifically the experience of study abroad. There will be guest blogs here as well as announcements of resources for students, parents and teachers to learn more about study abroad and the global perspective.

Category archive for: Host Family

Hosting is a Blessing.

Posted in CETUSA News, High School Program, and Host Family


Mull Hosting

Ten years ago we were asked to “try out” hosting so we agreed to a short term commitment.  Within days it was apparent to my husband, son, daughter and myself that this was an amazing experience and so we welcomed our first international son Bruno from Brazil.  Seven years later we added his little brother Caio to our American family.  At the end of the program his mother Claudia and his father Oswaldo came to personally thank us for investing in their sons  and ultimately their lives.  We are making plans to visit Brazil in the future so our circle can be complete.  WE are still very connected via Skype, face time, email, Facebook and Instagram with the family.  Although your hosting experience may be 4-6 weeks as a welcome family, 5 months or 10 months the memories and relationships last forever.  Holidays and special days I often receive notes from my international sons/daughter and or their parents.   It is more heartwarming than I can express.


As hosts you are told you will impact a young persons life which is true but nothing prepares you for the greatest blessing that you and your family receive.  You grow your family even if it is half way around the world.  Since Bruno we have had the privilege to be mom and dad and a family to three other Brazilians, 3 Germans, 1 Spanish, 1 Italian, 1 Kazakhstan, and one daughter from Denmark.  Each has made an imprint on our hearts.


As an empty-nester my husband and I enjoy hosting two students now so they can be each others sibling plus we learn about two countries/cultures in the same year.  At this time in the world where peace is seen seldom this is a great opportunity to truly promote global peace and understanding.  By living together we learn why cultures are different and learn to appreciate those differences.  It is so awesome to have an impact on how a young person views Americans and then when they return they diffuse any false stereotypes and speak highly of Americans and our way of life.


People who know me personally know that I am very passionate about hosting.  I believe I am a much better person because we said yes.  I would strongly encourage anyone who is slightly interested to “try it out” and you will not be sorry.


Pam Mull, CETUSA Host Family


Student of the Week (8.01.16): Jiawen from China!

Posted in High School Program, Host Family, and Student of the Week

Congratulations to our Student of the Week: Jiawen from China!

Calvin and Ryu prom night 2016

I want to acknowledge the friendship this student, nicknamed Calvin, formed with his host brother Ryu from Thailand. Ryu said he will miss Calvin. They spent the last 10 months together doing things such as playing games on their computers, eating at their favorite restaurant near our house on Fridays to celebrate the end of another school week, going to Starbucks, and eating lunch together at school most of the time.

Calvin learned how to smile in pictures. He also learned to do many chores while he was here–such as loading and unloading the dishwasher, stripping and making his bed, doing his laundry, and cooking occasionally.  Many things he did were his own idea—such as bringing in the mail and taking the trash can to the street on trash day.”

He made good grades and received awards in math and chemistry for the highest scores in his class.  He and our other exchange students were acknowledged at graduation and given honorary diplomas.

Hosting two students is the way to go if you are empty-nesters like us.

KHS graduation May 2016 2


Student of the Week (7.25.16): Lissy from Germany!

Posted in High School Program, Host Family, and Student of the Week

Lissy from Germany

Congratulations to our Student of the Week: Lissy from Germany!

Lissy joined us in March following an emergency placement. We were apprehensive, but never hesitated. She has been an absolute joy and the thought of her leaving already is so hard. We fell in love hard with this girl and never expected to.

Some of our fondest memories of and with her will be her infectious smile and laugh. Her laughing at us trying to say words in German and our deep Southern accents throwing it off had us all collapsing into fits of giggles. Her attempt to try and use our slang was also very funny. Her genuine smile when something made her happy or when she was playing with the little ones around here (we have 4 grandkids that live nearby and they adore her). She is constantly telling us that she is taking the baby home with her! Her witty, smart alecky comebacks when my husband or my kids throw some wise crack out to her really made her a hit with our family and she became one of us very quickly! The last day of school, she got in my car and we sat there and hugged while she cried, we stayed there as long as she felt she needed to in order to come to grips with the fact that this was it. We both cried and my heart just broke for her.

For my birthday, the day before hers, she and my husband planned a surprise birthday party for me, it was amazing! She was so happy and she just glowed when she saw that she pulled it off. She gave me a framed picture of her with different poses and even included 2 of the grandkids that are here daily with her because I babysit them. That was the best present I have ever received! Later that afternoon, we shocked her by throwing a surprise party for her and one of our other grandsons, whose birthday is 3 days before hers. That was not something she expected at all. I loved seeing her eyes light up and the happy tears swimming in those big, beautiful blue eyes of hers.

Lissy: I liked everything, it is so hard to choose just a few: it felt like I was living what I saw in the movies…the school spirit, the students dancing, prom, sports games, the half time show at football games.

Student of the Week (7.18.16): Johanna from Germany!

Posted in CETUSA News, Host Family, and Student of the Week

Johanna from Germany 7.18.16

This is our second experience hosting an exchange student and I can tell you one thing; my family and I don’t even think of her as an exchange student! Johanna has a one of a kind personality, she is not afraid of anything. Since day one she has been motivated and excited to integrate herself into the American culture. According to her host mom, “she joined right into the family as if she has always been a part of our family.”


Even before Johanna arrived in the United States, she was motivated to participate in both marching band and swimming. Although the school schedule would only allow her to participate in one, she chose swimming and succeeded to earn her varsity letter. Johanna has kept good grades while participating in school and family activities and she has made friends easily with both American and fellow exchange students. We have made many memories traveling throughout the United States. As Johanna would say, “all I need is food, shoes, and shopping.” Our family has now expanded over to Germany, and we are looking forward to lifelong memories.


Johanna says, “I am really enjoying my life here in Mt. Pleasant. My host family has become my American family. When I was in Germany I never expected to travel and see so much of the United States! For example, my host family took me to the U.P. as well as to Florida. In school and in clubs I made a lot of close friends and learned about the American High School Spirit. My friends in school and my host family have always helped me, for example, on the first day of school, my host sister showed me where the rooms for my classes were and even how to open my locker. I always had somebody to talk to and thanks to all of these people I didn’t really get homesick at all during my ten months. My host family and I did a lot of fun things together and it’s hard to pick a favorite memory, but if I had to pick one, it would be that my host family and I got into several water fights. We would dump full bottles of water on each other’s heads, even inside the house!

Congratulations, Johanna!