Dan and Carla Wingerson of Sugar Land, have opened their homes to both international and American college students each summersince 2010, serving as a host family for college and university students in the Southwestern Advantage summer program. The program has served as a launching pad for many successful national and international careers – including Texas Governor Rick Perry who ran his own business through Southwestern Advantage in 1969.
Southwestern Advantage also offers college students unmatched experience and life skills training in a challenging and rewarding environment. Tonis Erissaar from Sauga Vald, Estonia was the first student the Wingerson family hosted in the summer of 2010.
“I’m very thankful to the Wingersons for welcoming me to America and hosting me during my first summer of the Southwestern Advantage program,” said Erissaar. “My goal is to become a civil engineer and promote commerce in Estonia, and my experiences with the program have helped me build the skills, dedication, and work ethic it takes to reach this goal.”
The Wingersons and Erissaar were connected through a church in 2010, and since Erissaar’s participation in the Southwestern Advantage summer program in Texas, they have kept in close contact. Erissaar has participated in the program in other markets over the last two summers, but he and the Wingersons have talked every weekend while Erissaar has been in the United States.
Most recently, Erissaar visited the Wingersons for a few days in Sugar Land last month. Erissaar, an Engineering Major at Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia, was ranked as the eighth most experienced student dealer in Southwestern Advantage’s program (ranking by profit). 2012 was his third summer with the program.
“As we have continued to host several other students over the past few summers, we still keep in touch with Tonis through various social media outlets, and he oftensends postcards from places he is visiting while in school,” said DanWingerson. “It was very inspiring to witness Tonis’ work ethic as he participated in the Southwestern Advantage summer program. The skills he has developed will help him, and likely anyone associated with this program, achieve boundless success in any endeavor.”
“Carla and I have continued to host students in this program because we see them as our future, no matter what country they come from,” said Wingerson. “It’s great for students of their age to be able to have this kind of experience and learn from other cultures, whether it’s a student participating from another state or another country.”