This was one of the best decisions we could’ve made for our family

This was one of the best decisions we could’ve made for our family


My name is Heather Merriman and this year my family and I decided to invite an exchange student in to our home for the school year. The decision to do so was not taken lightly and we were certainly nervous at first since we hadn’t done anything like this before. My husband and children (ages 7, 9 and 11) were “all in” after talking with our ICES representative and we made the leap!

We met our student, Josemaria,for the first time when we greeted him at the airport on August 18, 2018. Here we are 3 months later with absolutely no regrets. This was one of the best decisions we could’ve made for our family. Josemaria is a great kid, very kind and respectful. He is always ready to get the most out of his experience here in the United States.

Since Josemaria has been here we have included him in every family event, tradition, trip as if he were our own. I think we are just as excited for all of the firsts that we are sharing with him, as he is. My kids have become very “attached” to him and couldn’t be happier that he is here. My son finally has a “big brother” and my girls adore him as well.

We have supported Josemaria through his first ever football season and have now moved on to basketball which is his love. We have taken camping trip, shopping trips, and most recently went and picked out our Christmas tree. It was so fun because he has never had a “real” Christmas tree before.

We are trying to see and do as much as we can while he is here so he can get a real sense of what it’s like in the United States. He is doing exceptionally well in school, which is a huge relief to us and him. He is fluent in English but hasn’t ever had all of his classes taught in English, so he was pretty nervous at first. I happy to report he has all A’s right now!!

I would encourage anyone who is thinking about participating in the exchange student program, to take the leap and be ready for the experience of a life time!


Heather Merriman
ICES host mom in Deckerville, Michigan
hosting exchange student Josemaria from Mexico 🇲🇽

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