Hosting Students. Hosting Hope.
Serving as a GRSP host family is one of the most rewarding experiences a Rotarian can have on their Rotary journey. GRSP brings Rotary’s vision and mission to life, as it’s about bringing real people together to make the world a better place. Inviting a student into your home, investing time with them, and “adopting” them into your family for a year can be life-changing. You and your family will be enriched by learning about them, their families, and their customs, culture and beliefs, as much as you will be by sharing your own. Having an international student in your home with your own children allows us to broaden the minds of the next generation two fold. Hosts have ‘sons’ and ‘daughters’ spread across the world to visit and share life with for years to come. Join with us to grow your Rotary family!
Alara Su Bilgez
Kennesaw State University
Everyone was very nice and helpful. When I was not at my dorm, I was at my host family’s house. I’m not exaggerating when I say they are the most amazing people I have ever known. I love them with all my heart, and I know that they do too. They never made me feel like I was a temporary student that they have to take care of. From day one, we were like a family. We went on a cross-country road trip together and we still like each other after that. I can’t thank them enough. But they know that they have a family in Turkey now.
Gabriel Deller Agular
University of Georgia
What surprised me the most during this period was the receptiveness and affection of the Americans, especially those involved with Rotary and the GRSP program. My hosts, Skipper and Anna Burns from the Rotary Club of Griffin, made me feel part of their family, they are always interested in getting to know Brazil as well as introducing me to local customs. In December my parents came to see me and to know the Burns family, it was exciting to see how they received them so well and were so friendly. I’m sure I will remember these moments for all my life.
In particular, a big thank you should go to our host families. Chris and Kathleen, I am so happy that I got to know you and that I was allowed to be part of your family. I could not have asked for a better place to stay. You are amazing people with a big heart, and if I would not miss my own family in Germany so much, I would not mind staying forever! I will never forget the fantastic trip to Arizona and the breathtaking views that we saw on our hikes. Thank you for your support, your hospitality, the great trips, and that I always had a place that I could call home.
Also, a big thank you to Henry and Chris, my two new brothers. It was a refreshing experience to have brothers for a year that do not for example wrangle about little things like favorite T-shirts, as it sometimes happens when you grow up in a family with sisters only. I had so much fun with y’all and never laughed as much in my life as when we were together.
Dalton State College
This year would not have been as amazing as it has been without the help and support of my amazing host parents, Bruce and Kayanne Satterfield. I cannot thank you guys enough for welcoming me into your home and giving me so many great experiences over the past year. You guys embody Southern hospitality and kindness, and I could not have wished for a better host family. I would also like to thank my trustee, John Richmond, for helping me out this year. You and your family also played a big part in making this year one of the best ones of my life. In conclusion, these past 9 months have probably the best and most exciting months of my life. They have taught me a lot, not just about cultures of people from all over the world, but it has also taught me a lot about myself.
Zoe June Hopper
Clayton State University
I have been so lucky with my lovely host families who invited me into their homes and made sure I know I always have a place to go to or someone to speak to. By spending weekends and holidays with them at Thanksgiving and Christmas I really felt like a part of the family. I’ve shared in meetings and activities with my greater “family” of wonderful Rotarians in my host clubs of Clayton County and Lake Spivey and Henry County. So many have welcomed me with open arms to join them for dinner, to transport me around and given me such memorable experiences – I have truly discovered just what “southern hospitality” is.
Daniyal Ajmal Nasir
University of West Georgia
So far, I have done many things. I went to the Falcons game twice (they lost both, unfortunately, but it was amazing to be in the Mercedes Stadium), I have also been to the Braves game and, my highlight was at Christmas, when I went to Las Vegas with my host family. Who does not want to go there! Everybody wants it and I had the opportunity to spend a week there. What a great experience. In addition, we drove to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. After that, I can tell you, the Grand Canyon is the most beautiful and impressive place that I have ever seen. Anyway, these things are just a little bit of everything I have lived here. I am very grateful to Rotary community for giving me this incredible opportunity. I will carry this with me for the rest of my life.
Ivonne Nobuhle Meares
Kennesaw State University
Attending college, going on outings with other GRSP students, and travelling with my host parents were the most exciting things to do during the year. Going to school gave me the opportunity to make friends for a lifetime and learn about the American culture from a local’s perspective. It was fun celebrating Halloween and eating so much pumpkin pie, turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving day, picking out a Christmas tree, decorating it and opening presents on Christmas day, watching the oyster drop in Biloxi a few seconds before the new year and the fireworks that follow, and finding the baby in my piece of King Cake. I also discovered that my absolute favorite water activity was tubing, and I learnt the hard way that one needed to be physically fit before taking on the water skis. The best part of it all was having friends, host families and exchange students to share each laughter and every moment with.
Host Families Share their experience
Paige Havens, District 6910
From the moment Monia Azevedo stepped off the plane from Brazil to Atlanta in 2009 she was instantly a part of our family. We had a room just for her in our home that she could call her own. We hit the ground running immersing her fully in our beloved Southern culture. Too soon it was time to see her off to UGA. It was like leaving one of our own. We checked in often making sure she had what she needed to thrive. Monia was a dedicated student that loved to meet new people and try new things. She loved to engage with our club and fellow Rotarians every chance possible. She took every opportunity possible to grow herself through her GRSP experience. When she was home on weekends and breaks our time together was full of sharing and storytelling. Our kids were ages 15 and 12 and they loved learning all about life in Brazil. We shared food, family traditions and cultural experiences together that enriched us all. We did everything we could to give her a home away from home and that door home is forever open to her. She is a special part of our lives and we will forever love and support her as she moves through life. Saying “yes” to being a GRSP host family was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made!”