Over our seven years in Vienna we have housed ~120 student night equivalents for extracurricular events hosted by AISV.

Housing students is part of the contract for athletes, though many families find sneaky ways out of this obligation. General calls to house were put out when AISV hosted other extracurricular events like Model UN; Speech & Debate; honor music festivals, and so forth, so we have been privileged to get to know a wide variety of international students.

Looking back, I think we hit the houser jackpot. No student fell ill under our watch; the soccer player who suffered a concussion during a game was not technically under our watch, though Tony and I did take turns staying up through the night in case he needed something.

Just two mismatches! The first, a varsity tennis player who was terrified of CTF (though we made it clear on the housing form that we share our home with a 25kg hairy and friendly beast). Of course CTF naturally gravitated toward him. And the second, a student who failed to identify a significant dietary restriction, sending us scrambling at the last minute to find a suitable dinner for him. 

CTF has benefitted immensely from this experience, often gaining extra outings with housers who love dogs and want to take him for a walk in the park.


Once we even picked up a “spare” houser, sending us scurrying to inflate the mattress and borrow extra linens. A young Speech & Debate gal named “Alex” (short for Alexandra) had been paired with a male for housing. Honest mistake.

The number of forgotten items is short: an occasional sock and a pair of glasses. The most unusual: the entire toiletries kit of a middle school boy. That seems about right.

Horror stories have trickled down through the grapevine of housers who missed curfew; who smoked; who snuck out past curfew, and so forth. We never had one of them.

Throughout I have always been excited with housing gifts, my favorites being chocolate and honey, as the honey in this part of the world is beyond amazing. The most unusual gift was a bottle of hand soap, but it had a pleasant scent so, okay.

For our housers I provided a basket with a combination of sweet/salty/healthy snacks. The Doritos are “always” consumed. The healthy snacks were generally left behind. Each day I offered platters of fruit for the taking; usually the bananas were the first to go, followed by any fruit other than apples.

Our final housers this past Friday were two young female T&F students, and they were the most out-of-the-box housers ever. The girls plated seconds of dinner; required no wake-up call; folded their bed/bath linens; AND DID NOT EAT THE DORITOS! In fact, they did not snack at all. (My housing gift was a box of chocolates, yay.)

The girls loved on Cletus so much, though, that he positioned himself in the hallway, staring at their bedroom after they had departed. Our poor Foxhound. He’s going to need a 12-step program now that housing has come to its end.