“I really had no expectations about what this would be like,” said Betty. “My husband and I are empty nesters so it was really different to bring someone new and young into the house.”
Patterson and her husband welcomed Jonas, their exchange student from Germany, into their family and did their best to ensure he took advantage of every opportunity.
“We went to as many states as possible while he was here,” said Betty. “We wanted to show him as much of America as we could.”
And in turn, Jonas told them about his family and home back in Germany. Recently, his family came to the United States on vacation and stopped to visit the Pattersons.
“It was great to form that bond with Jonas and then meet the people we’d heard him talking about for a year,” she said. “Now I really feel like I have a connection on the other side of the world.”
Jonas was always interested in going to new places and learning more about America and Kentucky, which is what Betty loved about hosting an exchange student.
“We’re big Kentucky basketball fans, and Jonas got very into that as well, which I loved,” she said. “The look on his face when he saw that I got him a University of Kentucky afghan for Christmas was priceless.”
They also enjoyed visiting Frankfurt, Kentucky’s capital, together and learning about how the state’s government works.
On hosting an exchange student, Betty believes “it’s a big commitment, but it’s worth every minute.”