There’s No Place Like Home! An Italian Girl in America’s Heartland


By Jillian Sims; High School Programs Compliance and Operations Manager

When Maggie and her family opened their home to Veronica from Italy, they only hoped for as great of a year as they are having. Recently, CCI Greenheart asked them a few questions about their hosting journey so far.

  •  Why did your family decide to host?

My husband Craig and I have always appreciated that the world is very diverse.  I consider us both “lifelong learners” and love to experience new things.

  • What moment has made you laugh the most since Veronica has arrived?

We were driving in the car and Veronica starts to tell us a story about her home town Bologna, Italy.  She said it contains the world’s longest “toenail”.  We all looked at each other, because she made this announcement with such pride!  My daughter Emmaleah asked “is it outside in the open?”  Veronica beams and shouts “Yes, it has a big arch over it”!  Then Katie our other daughter says “Ew, it sounds gross”, but Veronica was offended saying “No! It’s NOT!” “It runs from the city center up a hill to a church!”  Then Emmaleah realized Veronica was talking about a TUNNEL, not a toenail!  We all laughed until we had tears rolling down our face!

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  • What has been your favorite memory with your “new family” so far?

We have had so much fun since Veronica has arrived.  I guess my very favorite memory is when we Skyped with her mom and dad plus a few of her parents friends.  They were watching a soccer match on TV and ordering pizza.  They were basically having a get together just like we Americans have when we watch a football game.  Except for the language difference, we are just the same!  We laughed and told jokes, played guessing games and Skyped for two hours!

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  • What have you learned since you’ve been living with Veronica?

Veronica is well versed in Italian and European politic, culture and traditions.  From her descriptions, I feel like I understand how complicated life can be in her country as well as our own.   She has taught us some of the Italian language and tells us “when you come to visit, I’ll show you around”…not IF you come and visit!

  • Can you also describe how you helped Veronica through any difficulties she may have had in adjustment or school?

Veronica has great study habits.  Both daughters have helped her with some of her homework when she had a question, (Algebra & Government) but really she is a great student.  I feel she had prepared herself well and has looked forward to this experience for so long she fit right in!  Veronica Skypes with her family every 2-3 weeks and has not seemed home sick at all!

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  • Any proud host parent moments?

Veronica joined the high school cross country team.  She didn’t know anyone on the team, but set a goal to try something new.  She met and made friends with lots of kids from the team and finished the season in great athletic shape!

  • How has the community embraced Veronica?

Craig and I are very proud of Veronica because she has the ability to read people and their actions very well.  She doesn’t meet a stranger; she makes friends easily and is willing to learn from everyone around her!    Therefore she gets along well with all kinds of people and is easy to talk with.  Many kids from our local high school have asked to take Veronica to dinner or a ball game or overnight to their home.  She is very well liked.

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  • What would tell someone about hosting–who has never hosted before?

The whole family should be involved in choosing a student.  We chose Veronica because she had a lot in common with our daughters.  We are excited to meet people from other countries and learn about life outside the USA.


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