It could be a pleading note sent home in the schoolbag. Or maybe an email: 'Wanted, families to host international students visiting our school'.
The idea of having a kid from Japan or Finland in your home for a few days or a few weeks would make plenty of us nervous. Teenagers are tough to keep fed, watered and entertained, let alone when communication has to be done by translator app.
But before you scrunch up that note because playing host mum or dad to a kid from Tokyo isn't for you, it's worth giving it a little bit of thought. At worst, it might make things at home more interesting for a while, and at best it might just change your life.
Let me introduce Rookie. Thirty years ago he was a shy, skinny Japanese boy from Nagoya who came to Canberra and stayed with our family for a handful of days. He was one of many we hosted. With four kids, my parents had more than their share of requests to billet visiting rugby players and musicians from other parts of Australia. Being friends with some Lions Club members meant they were also asked to put out a bed for international exchange students.
Rookie was known to us then by his proper name Takayuki. On day one, he sat at the kitchen bench and my mum, whose Irish-style hospitality was based on food and plenty of it, plonked in front of him a plate of meat pies and chips and one of the big glass milk bottles we had home delivered back in the day.
Takayuki's eyes lit up. And being the polite Japanese boy, he finished everything in front of him, including the pint of milk. These were his first few days in Australia, and something about this country grabbed him hard. His inner Australian was stirred. Vegemite, TimTams, Kingsley's hot chips. He loved it all. And he loved earning an Aussie nickname, Rookie.
When it was time for him to leave us a few days later, he was in tears. When he went home to Japan, he insisted to his own family he wasn't going to sleep on a mat on the floor anymore. He wanted a western bed. He was a changed boy who returned to his parents. And I suppose that's what travel is meant to do.
Over the past 30 years, Rookie has been a boomerang. In the early years after his first visit, he returned whenever he could for as long as he could. My parents became his Aussie 'Mum and Dad'. He's been to every family wedding over here. Famously he spent less than 20 hours in the country for a wedding, such is challenge of getting time off work in Japan.
A couple of years ago, we took my dad to Japan for the first time to see Rookie. When Dad and Rookie met on the train platform in Nagoya, it was hugs and tears all round. For a few hectic, crazy wonderful days, we saw his world with its fast trains, ancient sites and karaoke bars. It was in every way like being hosted by a brother or a son, or in my children's case an uncle.
I had the chance to do what Rookie did when I was a similar age, again through the Lions Club. Right after finishing year 12, I flew to Italy for six weeks.
It was an eye-opening, belly-filling experience. My first host family lived in a town called Rieti, not too far from Rome. I couldn't believe I could walk out the door of their home and see water burbling around an ancient bridge. I couldn't believe lunch involved so many courses.
My host parents didn't speak more than a few words of English. But the warmth of their welcome overcame the language barrier. I also had a very kind host brother, Stefano, whose English was very advanced from his own exchange experience in the US.
He took me motorbiking, sight-seeing and even had me sit in on his lectures at uni in Rome when he put me up in his flat for a few days. Like Rookie, after time as a guest in Stefano's family home, I was terribly sad to say goodbye. I'd felt more welcome than I could have possibly hoped.
That was just before email and long before social media, so I lost touch with my Italian host families shortly after returning home. Earlier this year, when planning a trip to Italy with my own family, I searched for Stefano on social media. Nervously I sent a few photos and a 'remember me?' note. He did, at least enough, and so we worked out that we would link up in Rieti.
I was tense but excited driving into town, describing to my wife and children what I remembered of the place. When I met Stefano, we exchanged a slightly awkward hug as you would do with someone you haven't seen in more than 20 years and even then only knew over a couple of weeks.
But over a few days in his home town we rekindled a long ago friendship. We hiked mountains, toured the region and returned to his family's home for a meal. His parents were so clearly delighted I'd returned to see them two decades on. Again, the warmth was genuine.
As good as it was for me, I thought too about what these experiences could mean for my young kids. They now have an 'Uncle Rookie' and an 'Uncle Stefano'. Whenever they take off to see the world on their own, they'll be there waiting to take them to the karaoke bar or up that mountain.
And who knows what will come when we return that note to school and it's our turn to open our doors to a nervous kid from somewhere far away.