The Monroe family

Meet Leah and Justin from Wisconsin, who welcomed exchange student Julia from Norway into their family.

“We wanted our kids to grow up with a sense of global awareness and cultural perspective.”

We started hosting when our twins were 18 months and have continued to do so every year for the past 4 years. We wanted our kids to grow up with a sense of global awareness and cultural perspective. Our foreign daughters have fit seamlessly into our family and our own daughters have gained several big sisters.

We never once had any hesitations about welcoming a teenager into our household. All of our host daughters have been open-minded, mature and eager to become a true part of our family. I am glad that we didn't wait until our girls were older for them to have this experience. It's been such a formative part of their childhood.

“It's true what they say, now we have family in another country.”

We decided we wanted to host a Norwegian student this year because the area we live in has a huge Norwegian heritage. The high school mascot is even called the Westby Norsemen! Julia is known around town. People can't wait to meet her and learn about Norwegian culture from an actual Norwegian person.

Julia's family from Norway recently came to visit us and the moment they arrived it was like they were our second family. My oldest daughter is the same age as Julia's Norwegian sister, and even though they couldn't communicate, they played together for hours. It's true what they say - now we have family in another country. 

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© 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.