by Lisa Tome
Maddie and Carly Warnick have had a surge in popularity this summer.
The Warnick sisters, and their parents; Becky and Dave of Rising Sun, are hosting a pair of teen foreign exchange students for a month. The family said that neighbors, particularly teen girls, have been flocking to their house in hopes of meeting David Guinart, 14, and Pol Aliuga, 15, - visitors from Barcelona.
The family signed on as a host family through Global Friendships. Becky saw a sign along the roadside advertising the program. Dave had gotten information about hosting foreign students at Sunfest in early June.
"We figured it would be a learning experience for our kids," said Becky Warnick. "It's scary and exciting at the same time," said Dave Warnick.
Maddie, 11, and Carly, 9, have been facing their own challenges learning to adapt to having a pair of temporary male siblings. "Keeping the bathroom clean is hard. We (the four children) are all sharing one bathroom," said Maddie.
In order to host foreign students, families have to provide them with their own bed and bedroom, which can be shared with a same sex child. They also share meals with the guests and participate in activities. Five days a week, the guests attend classes in American culture. There are trips to Washington, D.C., Rehoboth outlets, New York City, and Hersheypark with the group. Families can participate in the trips
They also provide family-centered trips such as one they took to Herr's chip factory. Becky has tackled new challenges with her guests. "It seems like I am always at the grocery store," she laughed.
"It seems like the kids are warming up now. They are arguing like brothers and sisters. I heard them arguing over what to watch on TV," Becky said.
They keep a Spanish dictionary close at hand. "I took Spanish in high school," said Becky.
Guinart is in the U.S. for the first time. "I think it is quiet. This is a nice city. It's quite calm. It's not loud and it's a relaxed environment. I feel at home," said Guinart.
Aliuga has visited America before. He said he's enjoying soaking up the culture. He attended the Rising Sun town meeting last week and said he found it "not interesting."
Both teens said American food is different than what they are used to eating. They have been enjoying Becky's cooking as well as Lucky Charms, and dinner rolls, which are new to them.
Host families are still needed for this summer. Anyone interested in hosting a student is asked to call Ron Erickson, area coordinator for Global Friendships at 443-987-1203. For more information on the web go to firstname.lastname@example.org