This morning we left for work while the kids were still asleep. I left a note on the fridge saying, “Lunch is on the stove”. That is nothing unusual, except that, our two daughters won’t eat those beans alone – Marina from Russia will join them too.

Marina is our third daughter this year. Last year we couldn’t even imagine a situation like this, and now it’s the most common thing in our home. We speak a bit in Serbian, a bit in English, and a bit in Russian.

People usually ask why we are doing this, why Marina decided to come to Serbia and why she is in our family. Our main motivation was to give a great experience to our daughters, without leaving home. The two of them will also have to go through an adjustment period, they will have to give up something to compromise, and they will learn how to better understand their wishes and habits. Of course, all this will be much easier at home than in another country or anew place.

The goal of living with a host family in a foreign country isn’t just to learn a new language, but also to gain a unique life experience, and that it the biggest gain. Exchange students get this experience, but host families do too.

Marina has been staying with us for two months, and we still don’t have a complete image of her (un)fulfilled expectations. What we can do is give an easy answer to a question we get asked frequently: “How is it going with Marina?” – Great, everything is working well!



written by Gabrijela Rimac, host mother from Serbia