The Heart of Hosting: A Journey of Connection and Transformation

At 19, embarking on a college journey in Dallas far from home, Andrew Ponson encountered both the exhilarating independence and the stark loneliness that comes with being an international student. The novelty of new friendships and newfound freedom was often overshadowed by the profound sense of isolation, especially during holidays when peers returned to their families, leaving behind a poignant reminder of his lack of a 'home' away from home.

The Turning Point: A Warm Wednesday Tradition
"It wasn't until my second year that I found a remedy to my homesickness," recalls Andrew, reflecting on his transformative college years. "I met a family who opened their home to me every Wednesday night to catch up on our favorite TV series. This simple tradition became my weekly highlight, a sanctuary from the solitude of dorm life."

This experience was not just about watching TV; it was about the warmth of inclusion, the joy of being part of a family. "Those evenings gave me something invaluable—a sense of belonging. It turned a routine gathering into a lifeline," he explains.

A Call to Open Hearts and Homes

Now, years later, Andrew finds himself on the other side of the equation, providing a nurturing environment for international students facing similar challenges. "These young students are far from home, overwhelmed by academic pressures, extracurricular expectations, and the daunting task of fitting into a new culture," he notes.

Offering a quiet space where students can simply be themselves is transformative. "We aim to create a home where students are celebrated, not just tolerated; where they can be imperfect, share their struggles openly, and feel genuinely supported," Andrew emphasizes.

A Diverse Family Table
In The Ponson home, every student, regardless of their background or school role, finds a place at the family table. "Our home becomes a haven where the class president, the class clown, the dancer, the hopeless romantic, the tomboy, and even the mean girl all have a seat. It's a place where they are reminded that they matter, that they are not alone."

Why You Should Consider Being a Host Family
Becoming a host family offers a unique opportunity to make a significant impact on a young person's life. Whether you opt to host one student or six, it’s about more than providing a room; it’s about offering a home. "It's a chance to learn from each other, to expand your family's horizons, and to foster understanding across cultures," he explains, "it has enriched the lives of my wife and I, as well as my children, who have come to love and admire their big sister friends."

Join Our Community of Host Families
LCA invites you to consider opening your home and heart to an international student. Experience the joy of making a real difference, of changing lives—including your own.

"Becoming a host family is one of the most fulfilling roles I've embraced. It has enriched our lives in countless ways, bringing new perspectives and lifelong friendships," Andrew concludes.

For those considering this rewarding experience, know that your openness and kindness can be the bridge that transforms a student’s educational journey into a cherished, home-away-from-home experience.

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