Each semester at Harlaxton, local British families are matched up with students in what is called the “Meet-a-Family” program. The moment I heard about this, I knew it was something I had to do. As I am very close with my family in the United States, I knew being away from home for three and a half months was going to be my biggest struggle. So I filled out the application and wrote a letter to my future “family,” hoping they were as excited to meet me as I was to meet them.
Once we arrived at Harlaxton, we were given some information about our families; some had previously contacted their students, and others had not. My friend, Rachel Blair, and I were paired together to share a family, and this was our first time seeing the names of our family, Jo and Pete Frederick. We were beyond excited to meet them at the Harlaxton Meet-a-Family dinner during our first week of classes! We dressed up to make a good first impression and saw that our family was one of the first to walk into the Great Hall (We recognized them from the little bit of Facebook stalking we had done!). As it turned out, they had two kids, Amie, who is seven, and Alex, who is four. The kids were a bit shy at first but warmed right up to us as the night went on.
Rachel and I gave the Fredericks our gifts we brought from home; it is encouraged that you bring something for your family that represents where you come from. I gave them some cinnamon candy that is popular in my hometown of Jeffersonville, Indiana, and a book about Jeffersonville, and Rachel gave them a book of local Kentucky photography. They really seemed to enjoy the thought we put into our gifts!