The other day I was blown away when one of my students, Yukina wrote about her host mother, Emily–someone she had only known for a couple of  weeks–as being one of the people she most admired in her life. With just a few simple words, Yukina managed to restore my somewhat teetering faith in humanity. So I asked her if I could share what she had written with all of you. Here’s what she had to say: 

Dream Host Mother

“Emily is my host mother and she is my role model. I admire her the most in my life. There are many students from different countries in her house. She is a very sociable person. She always listens to our poor English. When students can’t communicate well with each other, she translates for us. She can communicate with people from any country. Maybe she can feel what we want to say. And also, she is good at cooking. Everybody loves her cooking. I think it’s difficult usually because our tastes are different. Her dishes can make anyone in the world happy. She is always kind to me, like a real mother. I admire her a lot. I want to be like her in the future.” – Yukina Takatsuka – Japan

When making the leap to study abroad, deciding whether or not to stay with a host family is always a big choice. Why stay with a stranger when you could just book an airbnb? Will the house be clean? Will you have enough personal space? Are you too old to stay under someone’s roof? When it comes down to it, however, there is no better way to be welcomed into a new country than to stay with a host family. And as they say, the proof is in the pudding, and that pudding is Emily’s home.

Host Family in NYC

Over the years Emily has become somewhat of a star at BSL. So popular, that many of our  returning students refuse to stay anywhere else. So when she heard that I wanted to write a post about her and invited me over to dinner, I jumped at the occasion to meet the famous Emily. As I made my way down picturesque Marlborough road in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, I began to see why so many students love staying in such a charming neighborhood. It’s a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the city, and the perfect home away from home.

Once through the door, I immediately felt that sense of comfort that can only happen when you enter a house with a soul. A colorful assortment of artwork adorns the walls, books line the shelves, and the smells coming from the kitchen can only be described as heavenly.

In addition to being described as one of the kindest people students have ever met, Emily also holds the reputation as one of the best chefs in town! Students rave about her home-cooked meals and baked-to-perfection pies. At the moment, there are three students staying at her home and when I came over, we all sat down together for a family style meal. For dinner, a delicious Thanksgiving feast! Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce… The perfect meal for a great evening of story swapping.

One story in particular really stood out. A former BSL student and aspiring singer staying with Emily had always dreamed of performing at a Jazz bar in NYC. So, without a moment’s hesitation, Emily had found an open mic night at an intimate Jazz bar in the city and put her name on the list. But as luck would have it, the club called it a night just before her turn to dazzle. This didn’t stop Emily from getting her up on the stage though. Soon after going up, the student had caught the attention of the whole club and enchanted them with her voice. Just another day for Emily, the dream host mother.