Hosting an international student is not an easy task, and when you are an LGBT family living in a country that is still quite conservative, it can be even more challenging. However, Mario and Marco, a same-sex couple from Costa Rica, decided to open their home and their hearts to host an AFSer and a temporary host family for another student. Their story is an inspiring one, showcasing the power of love, compassion, and acceptance.

Costa Rica recently achieved marriage equality, but unfortunately, the country is still struggling with discrimination and challenges for LGBT families. Despite this, Mario and Marco were determined to create a safe and welcoming space for their host son Etienne, and they participated actively in orientations and all the activities.

As a first-time family, they had to adjust their schedules and learn how to establish rules with Etienne. At each step of the way, they showed their commitment to the program and each other. They adjusted their routines and prioritized the wellbeing of their Global Son, and quickly helped when another student needed help.

Mario and Marco’s dedication to the AFS program goes beyond their own experience as a host family. They alerted and supported the organization when a possible harassment case in the local chapter arose, showing their commitment to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all participants.

They communicate very well with each other, and make sure that they’re supporting and helping each other. Their love and care for their Global Son and the other participants in their chapter have made them a meaningful presence for AFS Costa Rica. They were the first same-sex Global Family to host in the country, breaking barriers and stereotypes.

Their story is a reminder that love and acceptance know no boundaries, and that a little bit of kindness and compassion can go a long way in creating a better world. Mario and Marco’s journey as a host family is a testament to the power of the AFS effect.

Do you want to know more about AFS Global Families? Contact AFS in the country where you live to become an AFS Global Family. Find out more about how AFS supports families here.