Cambridge Network 2021 Host Family Appreciation Post!

It takes incredibly caring individuals to open your homes and hearts to an international student. Cambridge Network is beyond grateful to work with an entire village of inspiring, kind, and open-minded hosts to count on each year. Throughout this pandemic, you have truly gone above your obligations to ensure student’s safety, well-being, and success.

We want to take a moment to appreciate each host who has continued to host or remained open to hosting despite these new and unique challenges we’re facing that have reshaped the typical hosting experience. Here are just a few stories we hope will brighten your day and inspire you to continue this journey.

Regional Manager, Stephen Glaspie, shares his appreciation for host Dottie Lipinski

(Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, IL)

“During this difficult year, I have witnessed some magical moments with my host families.  One of these moments came via Dottie Lipinski. Her family has been a long-time host family for Cambridge Network. The family has always gone above and beyond to support our students. This year, the host mother did much more.

Dottie’s student was deciding which college is right for her.  The student was really interested in attending SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design), located in Georgia. Dottie planned a trip to tour the school! She traveled with the student, and they toured Savannah, the campus, and met with professors.  The student felt so welcomed during the trip and made the decision to enroll. The host mother also ensured that they both received their COVID-19 vaccines before traveling.

When I asked Dottie why you would do all this, she replied, “I would hope someone would do this for my child if they were living abroad.  I treat each of the students the same as I would treat my own child.”  Dottie exemplifies our love, guide, nurture mission.  I’m so blessed to have her in my host community. Thank you, Dottie.”

Student Development Manager, Janice Mondi, shares her appreciation for host Corri Ogburn.

(Austin Preparatory School in Reading, MA)

“This has been a year unlike any other. I have seen so many amazing hosts go above and beyond all expectations in hosting our international students. One is Corri Ogburn. Corri and her husband Brett have been wonderful host parents for many students over the years.

This year has been especially difficult for students and host families alike.  To ease the fear of their student, Isabelle, they together brainstormed the idea to make hand sanitizer, which at the time was in short supply and high demand!

Corri and Isabelle gathered ingredients and even purchased essential oils to give the hand sanitizer relaxing aromas as well as protection from COVID-19. Isabelle took orders for her sanitizer and made deliveries to friends and family with the help of her host brother.  Corri saw this as a way to help Isabelle feel she was doing her part to help her fellow students and friends. This initiative also eased some of Isabelle’s fears and kept her mind occupied with positive thoughts.

Isabelle remained in the U.S. through the summer to avoid jeopardizing her senior year and college preparations. Corri graciously welcomed her to stay.  Isabelle will always fondly remember this time shared with Corri.  I am thankful and blessed to have had Corri and her family love, guide, and nurture so many of our students. Thank you, Corri and Brett!”

Student Development Manager, Jeanette Begin, shares her appreciation for hosts Renee and Tim Gensamer (Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, NJ)

“I want to give a big shout-out to Renee and Tim Gensamer.  Renee and Tim hosted Ziyang (Marcus) for the past three years! Marcus is a senior this year at Holy Spirit in Absecon, NJ, and recently returned to China to complete his senior year remotely.

Renee and Tim are dedicated hosts who have provided remarkable service to their international students before and during the pandemic.  Through these difficult times, they navigated the daily ups and downs of a student living so far from home and helped Marcus work through his fear of leaving home and even fear of returning to school in person due to COVID-19.

Renee and Tim used their time wisely and found creative ways to keep Marcus occupied and his mind off missing home.  Aware of his interest in cooking, Renee opened her kitchen!  Marcus was gracious and immediately began spending time in the kitchen, often asking Renee’s opinion on what spices to use in his recipes.  He anticipates that his first year at college won’t be as comfortable as he has been living with the Gensamer family but learning to cook helps Marcus feel more prepared!

Thank you, Renee and Tim, for not only opening your kitchen to Marcus during crazy times but for opening your hearts to a young man who will cherish memories of his host parents while studying in the U.S. “

Check out our homestay blog for more information on Cambridge Network as a residential provider, tips for hosting, and our host testimonials. If you’re interested in hosting an international student, please fill out an inquiry form!

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