Blue and Vicki Ornelas of Victorville, CA are no strangers to hosting international exchange students. Since 2008 they have hosted at least eight students from various parts of the world.
“As a family we have always enjoyed meeting the kids and getting to know them. We have created lifelong relationships with all of the students we have hosted, ” explains Blue.
“This (hosting) is enriching to our family culturally,” adds Vicki.
Though they have been hosting for years, this past year was their first experience hosting with PSE. The Ornelas family hosted two PSE students each on a Trimester program: Camila from Argentina in January, and Lena from Germany in March. They claim that of all of their hosting experiences, hosting with PSE was the best experience thus far.
They feel fortunate that both Camila and Lena were excellent and fit in so well with their family. “PSE brought us the best students we ever had!” exclaims Blue.
He continues, “We loved their attitude and willingness to learn. It was extremely enriching for my kids and my family.” Vicki agrees and adds, “We were very fortunate to have the possibility to share our culture with two amazing students. They were happy to experience new things and were open to embracing our lifestyle.”
Both mentioned that they love to see how Lena and Camilla would get along so well with their family, especially with their daughters. They believe that the hosting experience is a fabulous opportunity to network with people all over the world and learn about new cultures.
When asked to share a memory of their hosting experience with PSE, Blue chuckled and recalled how Lena was initially hesitant to try new food. “We are Hispanic, and Lena, although reluctant initially, would try the food we prepared and ended up sharing that she was thankful for the experience.”
Blue was also impressed with the relationship that Lena and his 15 year old daughter formed. “I loved to see the two girls build their relationship when they would go together to the church teen group. It was great!”
Vicki recalls special moments that she and Lena would share in the kitchen cooking together. “I really enjoyed Lena teaching me some dishes from her country.”
Until this year, the Ornelas family had only hosted students for a full year, so hosting students for 12 weeks was a different experience for them. They only wish that the students had stayed longer. PSE launched the Trimester program, a 12 week cultural and academic immersion program for students from Europe and Latin America, just this year. Students live with host families and attend a private school on an F-1 visa.
“Hosting PSE students was smooth and easy. Of course, we had two wonderful students so actually we did not need assistance.”
Will Blue and Vicki host with PSE again?
“Yes, we will!” they exclaim in unison.