October 06, 2021 21:55

In the year 2000 I found out what YFU was when my family received an exchange student in the city of Tarariras, Uruguay, who came from the United States to live in my room that I shortly before left when I got married.

We developed a very beautiful relationship with my exchange brother, Mike. Even today, we treat each other like brothers, and we even call each other’s children nieces and nephews. The same relationship occurred with the rest of my family; my parents and my brother call him their son and brother. I was able to go and visit him in the United States once, and I hope that he will be able to return to Uruguay someday. The love we had for him was so great and the exchange experience was so beautiful, that in the year 2016 we decided to host an exchange student at our own home.

This time we hosted a daughter, and she was from Germany. Her name was Nina. She adapted very quickly to our customs and language, and a few months later she was another Uruguayan, for example taking math classes every day. Her departure back to Germany was difficult for everyone, and today we continue our relationship virtually from a distance with the desire to go and visit her sometime soon.

The big surprise was the news that Nina shared with us last March: she told us that she was expecting a baby, which would turn me into a host/exchange grandpa that coming September – even though we don’t use the words “host” or “exchange” anymore when talking about each other.

We are very happy about this news and now we are even more motivated to go to Germany to visit our German family. Nina sent us her ultrasound images and we are experiencing her pregnancy right alongside her.

Since the experience with Nina was so great, just like with our first student, Mike, we actually decided to host another daughter who arrived from Austria to live with us. Her name is Christina. While the pandemic has made everything more difficult, Christina is embracing our culture.

Testimony of Hector Osmir Gonzalez
Host family from Uruguay – 2016