Jordan Francke ‘13
My experience with my host parents exceeded every expectation I had regarding the program. I entered the program in 2011, as a timid Sophomore on the verge of coming out to my family and seeking an additional LGBT-friendly support system given the possibility that my parents would have reacted badly to the news. As a student from Maine applying in the middle of the year for a family, I didn't really expect to be placed with a family at all, let alone one that had particular sensitivities or connection to LGBT issues. Much to my surprise, a few days after contacting the Dean's Office, Dean Lee messaged me describing a local lesbian couple who were available to be host parents and asked if I would be interested. I responded immediately that I was and was given the contact information for the couple. A few weeks later, the couple invited me over to their house for dinner. Aficionados of healthy food, the women showed me around their extensive vegetable garden in their backyard, discussed with me their favorite vegetarian recipes, and then introduced me to their pets. As we sat down at the dinner table, our conversations quickly became more serious as we discussed their lives and my own experiences, particularly as a gay man, both with my family and at Bowdoin. Our relationship blossomed into a very special one, where they showed me places around Brunswick, Bath and Freeport that I had never even heard of. They introduced me to their friends at holiday dinner parties and even celebrated my birthday and graduation. They provided me all the support I needed during a vulnerable time in my life, became true role models and confidantes for me during my time at Bowdoin. I hope to stay in touch with them for the rest of my life.
Ahrea Marshall ‘15
An email or a call after a stressful day providing a chance to get away, family events and a feeling of belonging when I may stray is what my host family provides me. I look forward to breaks on campus because I know that I can spend quality time with a family who genuinely cares for me and I for them. Thanksgiving dinners, songs for every gathering and sporadic excursions to Reid State Park with my host mom and her family have made the Bowdoin experience even better.
Rubi Duran ‘16
Traveling from one side of the country to the other without your family can be hard. My host family has filled that missing piece of me while I am at Bowdoin, by opening their doors and offering a second home, great support, and a remarkable friendship. I have grown to care and love them just as they have with me and I can’t imagine what it would have been like without them. They are there just like a mother and father for the little things like picking me up from the airport, taking me to the grocery store, and keeping my things for the summer. They are there for the big things like giving me a place to spend Thanksgiving, keeping me sane during finals, and offering me a loving shoulder to cry on. I am truly grateful for this program.
May Kim ‘16
Coming from an unstable family in which I did not feel comfortable, I was doubtful of my decision to sign up for the host program. However, after getting to know Kelly and Rich, I knew that Bowdoin's host family program matched me with the two best possible people for me. Kelly and Rich are always there for me and they treat me as if I am their own daughter. They make me a much needed homecooked meal when I feel homesick, come to campus events, take me shopping for flannel sheets and winter clothes, replenish my Korean food cravings by taking me to Portland, and support, talk to, and encourage me during difficult times. Instead of sitting alone in my dorm room wishing I was back in Los Angeles on Thanksgiving this past year, I spent time with my host family, went shopping with Kelly until 4am, slept over, and woke up to Rich handing me a box of Frosty's donuts. Rich, Kelly, and their cat, Booboo, created a home for me in Maine and with their compassion, showed me what a family can provide. I am so thankful for my host family's warmth and hospitality and for the host family program for connecting me with my new family and life-long friends. Now, instead of being homesick at Bowdoin, I get homesick whenever I leave Maine to go back to Los Angeles!