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Host profile - Heather, Lewis and Olive Bonney

Our family has been hosting international students since August 2009.

My children (Lewis and Olive) and I have had the opportunity to host students from Japan, China, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.

Hosting students has been a fabulous learning experience for my children and I, we really enjoy learning about different cultures and ways of life, from the small differences like “What do you usually eat for breakfast in your home country” to bigger things (from the children’s point of view!) like “How do you celebrate your birthday and Christmas in your home country?”.

My daughter Olive just loves learning phrases in different languages from our students.

We enjoy participating in local events with our students, such as the winter carnival, the chocolate festival and also school fairs.

Our students become quite attached to the children and enjoy coming along to the children’s sports events and dance recitals to cheer them on.

Hosting students has also helped us see the beauty of Dunedin – as we show our students beautiful places like Taiaroa Head, Larnach’s castle, the botanical gardens and our beaches we can see these places through our students’ eyes and really feel proud to be living in a such a wonderful city.

Our students and I quickly become friends on Facebook, and this has been a great tool for staying in touch with our students as they move forward with their studies and move away from Dunedin.

What my students enjoy most about Facebook is seeing recent photos of the children and how much they have grown.

My students enjoy commenting on these photos and staying in touch in this easy way with our family.

We really enjoy maintaining relationships with our students and having ongoing friendships with them.