Hosting a Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) student through IRIS offers many fulfilling opportunities. Host families are able to experience different cultures and learn from their host student, but there is also a bond that is formed between the students and their host moms.


In honor of Mother’s Day, here are a few stories describing the bond between IRIS YES students and their host moms.


Ella and Her Host Mom“My host mom is very smart and knows how to solve problems.

I can remember coming back from school one day very sad. She tried to find out what was wrong with me. She is very caring. When I told her about a problem I had in a class, she suggested ways of helping to solve my problem. She knows how to light up my day. I’ll miss going shopping with her, her funny stories and her cheerful self. She knows how to be herself: obeying rules, cheerful, caring and nice. “


–       Ella (Nigeria), Iowa City High School


“My mom is a very cool Korean Mom! She knows my feelings. She is a really great woman. She encourages me to try so many things. Without her I would have missed out on a lot of things during my exchange year, such as running and joining track.


My host mom is caring. She really cares about me. About my health, my feelings, my happiness, she cares about me, she cares about my school and everything. Mom is really caring.


I will miss my host mom’s voice that always tells me the right way to do things, her laugh, and when she just talks to me. I will miss her hugs too.


My hostmom is really amazing! I am really glad to live with her and know her. She takes care of me like we are family.”


– Jaya (Indonesia), Davenport West High School


Aleyna and her host mom“My host mom, Sandy, is an amazing person. She has a heart of gold; she is so kind and caring. From the moment we met, she always made sure I was having the best time and many unique experiences. She has made such a big impact in my life, taught me a lot of important life lessons. My life would not be the same if she was not there for me, and I am so thankful for that. I will miss sitting down and talking to her.. also baking with her! I love to spend time in the kitchen with her. She not only makes the best American food I’ve ever had and will ever have, but also is open to try new things such as Turkish Food.”


–       Aleyna (Turkey), Marshalltown High School



Anu and her host mom“Everything is special about my host mom. She is really determined and confident in her life. She makes decisions that are favorable to everyone around her. She is really helpful to all the people and very much openhearted. She plays with us like a small kid sometimes but at the same time she is strict about certain things. I am proud to be her daughter this year. We go and hang out at places and enjoy spending time during weekends and during other holidays. I will really miss her when I go back to India.”


–       Anupama (India),  Des Moines Hoover High School


“She loves her kids and she is very caring.  A woman who is very pure in heart, loves to get involve with what her unnamed-3kids do like their school sport. She is patient and loves to help when one has a problem. Kind, nice, tolerant, loving and honest.  Her sincerity and niceness. I really love my host mom and my host family and I will definitely miss them. I am so glad I meet my host family, they are awesome.”


– Gideon (Nigeria), Grundy Center




As a host family, you will not only be able to experience the depth of diversity each student has to offer, but you will be able to form a bond that can last a lifetime. If you are interested in being a host family or have questions, please contact Tim at 515.292.7103 or

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