During World Link’s online ReEntry Banquet in May of 2020, we asked some students to speak about different aspects of their year. After seeing the indescribable bond built between host dad and exchange son, we asked our FLEX student Aibek Saidov ’20 (Kyrgyzstan/TX) to speak about his relationship with his host father and what it taught him.
Enjoy the transcript of his heartwarming speech:
Howdy ya’ll! And good morning World Link family. I am pleased to be here and represent my country and my host family…
Back home I NEVER volunteered, but because of my year in the U.S. and my host dad, I have found a love for it. I would like to talk to you about the volunteering that we did and how it has made my relationship with my dad and myself much stronger. It was an enjoyable year with different activities that I have never done before. I volunteered in different places like church, Lubbock Impact, at school, and the Salvation Army.
My dad was willing to help me every step of the way. He supported me in volunteering and took me to the places to do so. My host dad even went to these places alongside me.
He participated in the activities to teach me the importance of volunteering from the heart. As we worked together, he taught me that it was okay to show love to these people by giving them hugs, just as he did with me daily. This made our relationship much stronger and made me feel loved.
The one volunteer activity stuck with me and changed my view drastically was helping the homeless community. In doing so, I learned how fortunate a lot of us really are, even when we feel like we are struggling. We handed out clothes, food, drinks, socks, and other necessities that are needed to survive in today’s world. I remember there were some very cold nights where my host dad and I would drive around to find homeless to help.
After the pandemic started and people were ordered to stay at home, I realized how hard it would be for some of the lower-income families in my community to get enough food to feed their family since schools, a main meal for some, were closed.
Being inspired by my host dad and having his unconditional support, we found a way to get food donations from our neighbors and give it out to those who needed it the most.
The love my host dad shows for helping others will forever inspire me.
All in all, I enjoyed my time and learned a lot about life lessons and how to handle myself in different situations and improve my skills as a leader. Volunteering made me a more compassionate person and now I want to continue to help others. I believe all these activities and experiences during my exchange year will help me improve or even start a new volunteering community back in my home country. I hope your stay in the U.S was as pleasant as mine.
Thank you for sharing your experience Aibek. And thank you to the Moreno Family for opening your heart and home to Aibek. Thank you for teaching him the importance of caring for others.
You have changed his life.
Hosting is a life-changing experience. Learn more about becoming a World Link host family here.