Svitlana, from Lubotyn, Kharkiv region, shares her story of being matched with her host Ann.
I ended up in the town of Newark (Nottinghamshire) with a very beautiful woman named Ann. Upon arrival, I was greeted with smiles and a Ukrainian flag. At home, Ann presented me with a box of chocolates, prosecco, a key ring in the shape of a cross (she is religious), and a card with a sunflower (the English know that sunflowers are our Ukrainian symbol) and, of course, the Ukrainian flag, which I hung on the window.
During the day, we normally have time to ourselves. However, usually we have dinner together; we take turns preparing the food for this. When I first arrived, I prepared borscht and Ann was delighted, she liked it very much.
Ann has been so hospitable and kind to me. She helped me organise many things - a bank card, a doctor, a meeting at a job centre. She has taken the time to get to know me and introduce me to the local area: showing me the beautiful town of Newark, walks in Sherwood Forest and trips to the seaside.
At first, it was difficult to be in a country very different to Ukraine, one where I had difficulty with the language. However, after only 2 weeks, I adapted to life, became more confident in the English language, because everywhere I go, I communicate with everyone I meet: neighbours, friends, and relatives of my sponsor.
For a very long time I dreamed of getting to England. The country has not disappointed but turned out to be much better than I expected. I am sure that all this is thanks to my sponsor, Ann, who has done everything possible to make me happy.