Wry Exchange

FES Social Lives
10-16-07, 9:45 pm
Filed under: Culture, Exchange Students, hosting | Tags: , , ,

   “Host parents not letting students go out”  Another post by request. 

This is sad.   I have an immediate neighbor who is an area coordinator for another program.  She has students living with her family each year.  ( 2 kids for each of the last three years.  Evil Wry wonders if she has State Department permission?)  The neighbors joke the only time we see the kids is when they’re doing yard work.  They are great slaves, and miserable FESs. The kids aren’t ever permitted to hang out with students from my program.  She thinks my program kids are ‘bad.’  An opinion not shared by the school’s teachers and support staff.  We live in a town of less than 5,000 people.  She keeps the kids home a lot, and is strict.

The students are all on Student Visas here, and temporary immigrants abroad.  We are High School Youth Exchange Programs.  The kids must attend school.   The students should try to the best of their abilities.  Personally, the only class that is a must for me is either US Government, Economics, Current Events, or US History.  The kids should learn about our version of history, and the way we think.  Other than that class or 2, they can take basketweaving and weightlifting for all I care.  FES’s should learn something, but art, drama, or music may be better than English or physics.

I’m a big believer in mental health days for exchange students.  The kids can learn anywhere.  Exchange students are on a cultural exchange.  School is only about a third of the exchange.  Other important elements are friendships and learning our culture.   Students should be encouraged to leave the house, and embrace life in their new countries.   Host families should love their student, but not smother FES.  The student isn’t only in your home, FES is in the school and community.  Please let them participate in life.

 Students shouldn’t stay at home night after night, and on weekends.  The kids should have reasonable curfews; we’ve always permitted the kids to come home when their friends had to be home.  It’s so embarassing if an exchange student has to be home at 11:00pm, while the rest of the kids (who drive) don’t have to be home until 1:00am.  I’m not advocating that students never spend time with host families, every family should compromise on what works best for them.  If they can’t compromise, the student should move to a new family.  Remember, FESs aren’t au pairs or babysitters.


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