Homestay participants learn about other cultures, have the opportunity to share their interests, and form new global friendships! Here are just a few positive testimonials:
Andy Pearce Hosted a Div 1 Polish team at the Grand Canyon, Arizona
The homestay experience was definitely one of the highlights of the whole OotM experience this year. It epitomizes the experiential and educational value of the Odyssey of the Mind program. There are few ways for kids, and adults, to have this type of in-depth interaction with people from other cultures and countries, so it’s an incredibly valuable program.
Activities for these teams: sightseeing, hiking, bowling, going out for pizza, jumping on a trampoline, singing songs around a campfire on the canyon rim, swimming, shopping at roadside Navajo jewelry stands, visiting nearby attractions, several ranger-led programs including one at a fossil site and one on the South Kaibab Trail, dinner each evening together at a different host family’s home.
Roy Stallworth Hosted Div 3 German Team in Grand Rapids, Michigan
We had a whirlwind trip leaving East Lansing and heading to Niagara Falls and Toronto. We caught the fireworks at night and it was better than any I have ever seen. The team also went to Grand Haven Beach on Lake Michigan, saw an automotive museum and celebrated birthdays America-style with my daughter and two teammates who had birthdays. Then we caught a West Michigan Whitecaps baseball game, the first for the German team. It was spending the time together that was magical. The places bring out feelings but the conversations and the interaction drive relationships. The last night we had a sleepover for the entire team so that they could all be together on their last night in America. This Homestay was the best thing we could have done.
Christy Stafford Hosted a Div 1 Russian Team in Dover, Delaware
Hosting the Russian team in my son’s division of Odyssey of the Mind was a great experience for our whole family. Each family that participated agreed that they would do it again in a heartbeat! The children were wonderful and the exposure to their culture was wonderful. We learned a bit about Russia and some Russian words and they learned of American culture and many American words. It was interesting for them to realize that the English of Great Britain which they are taught is so different from how we speak here.
We went to the beach. One of the children had never been to a beach. It was awesome to see him looking out into the ocean for the first time. My 10 year old was so excited to take the children to the beach. We had a great time.
We also spent a day in Washington D.C. It was an exciting day at the Smithsonian. We walked to the White House and they learned about U.S. history and some of our political figures.
Every host family feels like they made bonds that may last a lifetime. I would recommend this experience to every OotM family.
Veronika and Ladia are 15 Year Old students with a Div 3 team from Russia
We were very happy to visit Yuma Arizona but we could not imagine that our journey would be so fun! The first day was a party in honor of the birth of our hostess Tracey! There were a lot of people but we immediately felt at home. I saw large areas of sand, many palms, clear streets and other different interesting things. I was surprised at their kind of life. Each family has its own big house with swimming pool, exotic trees. People are very kind, friendly, smiley, funny. I don’t know how I can say it better, but I liked it very much. When we came to Arizona different adventures were waiting for us. For example, we went to the Colorado River and saw a beautiful countryside. We could swim, and play in water. We had a lot of fun and we had good time with our new friends. The next day we went to the Pacific Ocean. It is very, very big sea. The water was cold, but we all went swimming in the waves. Most of all, I liked the trip to the Grand Canyon where we saw an amazing view and relaxed in comfortable cafes and tasted delicious food. I never saw such unusual nature and large areas. When we went back to Russia we took with us a lot of impressions. And now we are thankful for our American family’s warm welcome and we are missing them.