Picture host family

Interview with a host family

Picture host familyFrom 17 november to 22 november the first conference of the Western European Model European Parliament will be held in the Hague. Students between the age of 15 to 18 from several West-European countries will travel to the Netherlands to discuss, negotiate about and tackle European issues. It is important to offer the students a place to sleep during the conference and we need your help for that!

To give an insight in how it is like to have an international student in your house, we interviewed an Italian host family who hosted a Dutch student during a MEP conference in Naples. Her name is Mirella Verbano, and she hosted Niek Blok.

Mirella: I am Mirella Verbano, and I am 63 years old. I am at the moment enjoying my retirement, but I used to be an English teacher in High school, here in Naples. I love to walk around this city, and lived here all my life. I am a good friend of Anna Maria (she was the organizer of the MEP Naples conference, red.) and she asked me if I would like to host one participant for her, and that was this really tall young man (Mirella laughs).

Niek: I am Niek Blok, a Dutch student who was a Committee president at the MEP Naples conference. Then I was in the last year of high school. And I had the honor to be the guest of Mirella and Giuseppe!

Mirella: It was an honor to have you as our guest!

Niek: Haha, it was a really nice experience! I remember being picked up at the train station, and Mirella immediately made me feel comfortable. We had a 10 minute walk to her apartment, situated across the Gulf of Naples, with a great view at the sea! The first thing you said was: you must be Niek, your home is my home for the next week, here are your keys. I was overwhelmed by this gesture, and enjoyed a few lovely evenings with you and your husband Giuseppe!

Mirella: I enjoyed it too, it was really interesting to hear how things are organized in the Netherlands, especially the English teaching. Did you know they already start with this when the children are around 6 or 7 years old! Incredible! Here in Italy you only start learning English when you are around 12 or 13 years old. And you were quite easy, most of the time you were busy chairing your committee, so we had a quite relaxed week. First I thought we needed to be there for you all the time, but you were quite independent after I learned you how to use our metro and the typical Funicula, our hilltrains!

Niek: I remember that one night I just watched a game of soccer with Giuseppe and we just discussed the defenders of FC Napoli and the player Dries Mertens who used to play in the Dutch Eredivisie.

Mirella: And you once helped me cooking, we had an Italian dinner night, and you helped to prepare a typical Naples fish species. Until this day I have no idea what the correct English translation is, but we call it ”cecinella”. It was nice to get to know each other Niek, I had a wonderful week!

Niek: Me too, thank you!

The picture above is taken with Mirella’s Ipad to emphasize the length of Niek, joked Mirella afterwards.

Would you like to host a student yourself? Or do you know someone in The Hague who would be willing to be a host family? Let us know! Sign up by filling out this form.

For questions and/or comments, you can contact our coördinator of the host families, Tim Vervenne (T: +31 6 33731834/E: timvervenne@hotmail.com).