In 2016 our family decided to ‘take the plunge’ and host an intern. That year our two boys were in 3rd and 5th grades, and we figured that was one way we could give back to the school AND enrich our lives at the same time.
I have to admit we were a bit apprehensive at first. That year, the interns were all full year interns, meaning that our commitment would be for a year – a full year of another person living in our house with us. We were lucky that we had the space for an additional adult to have their own living space without cramping us, and so we filled out the application and requested a female intern, thinking it would be good for the boys (and me as the sole female in a male household!) to have another female – and role model – in the house!
Shortly before the intern assignments were announced, Tina Haarbusch asked me if we could host a male intern, since one of the interns was allergic to dogs and cats, and we have a pet-free household due to our own pet allergies. So we said yes, and the third week of August the boys and I drove to the Humphrey Terminal to pick up our intern who would become like a part of the family over the course of the year.
Berni Hösl from Berchtesgaden lived with us for a year and became a surrogate son to us and a big brother for our boys. He was studying to be a Sport and English teacher at the University of Augsburg. That ended up being a great fit for my athletic boys. Berni jumped right in to being a part of the family. He’d hang out with the kids, play sports with them, go snowboarding with them (he used to be a professional skier), help out with cooking, and was a lot of fun to be with. He taught me how to make schnitzel, and introduced us to Raclette, giving us a Raclette set for a family Christmas present. The year went by quickly, and Berni left Minnesota, but not our hearts.
In 2017 we spent our MEA Fall Break in Germany and visited Berni and his family in his stunningly gorgeous hometown of Berchtesgaden, where his parents made us a REAL Raclette dinner! We still have contact with Berni and have seen each other a few times since then.
I strongly encourage families to host an intern if they have the means to do so. It is a rewarding experience for your entire family and can lead to a long-lasting friendship for your kids and you.
- Dianne Bell & Dave Eenigenburg
- Sons Luke Eenigenburg (6A) and Jakob Eenigenburg (8B)