The Bouly family

Bob and Shelly Bouly from Arkansas have had an empty nest for nearly 20 years. This year, they decided to share their family traditions with exchange student Jolie, from Taiwan.

"This opportunity opened up and it's been nothing but fun"

Why did you decide to host a foreign exchange student?

My wife and I haven’t had kids in the house for close to 20 years but the opportunity opened up and it has been nothing but fun. Jolie has fit right into our family just like one of our children and it’s great to see her experience things she never has before. We’ve traveled all over since I’m retired Air Force and we’ve seen other countries and enjoyed traditions we aren’t used to, so we thought we would share ours with Jolie.

What family traditions have you shared with Jolie?

We have shared many traditions with Jolie. One of our favorite tradition is every year getting the grandkids together and making cookies for the neighbors and then we go out and hand out the holiday cookies and we wish everybody a merry Christmas. For us, sharing our traditions with someone from another country has been a blessing.

"Two days in, she says 'Hey Dad' and that got me right in my heart."

Can you tell us a fun story of your first days together?

Since it was our first time hosting an exchange student, we were wondering what she was going to call us. It’s fine to call us Bob and Shelly or whatever, and two days in she had a question and she says 'Hey Dad' and that just got me right in my heart. She’s been calling us Mom and Dad ever since.

Share story

Become a host family

Find your student today

Get started

The leader in cultural exchange since 1979

Learn more about EF

© EF Education First 2011-2022. EF High School Exchange Year is operated by EF Educational Foundation for Foreign Study, a non-profit corporation designated by the U.S. Department of State to operate a J-1 student exchange program. Note: Featured photo/videos do not include prospective students, and are representative of program participants.