Written by Catherine Munoz; Host Mom to Irfan Durmic (Bosnia & Herzegovina/IL)
It’s an honor to be a part of this young man’s experience in the United States. I’ve always wanted to do more, leave a stamp and make a difference in the world we live in. I served in the Marines Corp and deployed overseas in 2004/2005. The hospitality we received from our coalition forces was indescribable and I felt by being a host family I could pay it forward.
I hosted our 1st exchange student in July of 2015 for 3 weeks, great experience but a little bit of a communication barrier. Upon picking up Irfan at the Airport, we had an instant connection. He was very talkative, energetic and just excited about everything new he came in contact with. I knew right away he would be a perfect fit for our family. Now 7 months later and he is still the same but has matured with this experience. He is very intelligent and driven individual. He does not follow, he is a born leader and marches to the beat of his own drum. I’m very fortunate to be able to be a part of this experience and provide my son and opportunity to have an older brother figure to look up to and that is exactly what he does.
Just 5 days has passed since Irfan left for Washington D.C. [for Civic Education Week] and my son Nick has been talking about him nonstop. Nick is a great kid, smart, funny and definitely an individual too. The one thing I noticed the most is his confidence level has increased. They interact well with one another, Irfan helps him with his homework, they play outside and even challenge each other in video games. Irfan told me once, when he gets back home, he is going to tell his older brother he is sorry. I thought this was great! I told Irfan, I’m glad to see he is having a true little brother experience.
It will definitely be tough when he leaves for all of us, but I am positive we will stay in touch through letters and/or social media. I feel, in this world, we all have something to learn from one another, just have to keep an open mind. I see Irfan coming back to the United States for college and making a difference in world whether he stays in Bosnia or relocates to the U.S. I sure he knows he will always have “family” here.
Note: Irfan was also selected as his high school’s student of the week! Listen to his interview here: http://www.bnd.com/news/local/education/article61939177.html