Wry Exchange

FES Updates
03-26-08, 11:49 pm
Filed under: Exchange Students, Inbounds Inbounds, Outbounds Outbounds | Tags: , ,

 My program has about 40 students this year; half in the states, and half scattered across the world.  (We are a true exchange program.  FES goes out, FES comes in.)   The students have been in their new countries approximately seven months now.  Students choose when they want to return home.   Anytime from May 1st to 364 days from when they entered their host country. 

I want to give a general update without losing my anonymity so I won’t tell  you if the FES’s are inbound or outbound students.   The problems are typically the same all over the world.  They’re kids, and this is an incredibly difficult stressful year.

Two students quit because of homesickness.  One returned home early because of  family illness, and another because of family issues.   We have a few on probation because of alcohol or school problems.   Three of them had serious Visa issues.   Many had severe homesickness, it showed as depression and loneliness.  We have the annual psycho hostmoms and controlling hostdads.  We had a sexual harassment incident.   Some of the kids were asked to move out of their hostfamilies houses.   Some students have changed cities and schools.   Many have travelled far from their hostfamily’s home on vacation.  Students have won awards and been voted school royalty.  Several wisdom teeth have painfully erupted.   Of course, there aren’t any new tattoos or piercings.

I would say almost all of them are NOT experiencing the year as they imagined it.   We try to tell them, former students try to share, but nothing sinks in.  These kids are smart, they know everyfuckingthing.  It’s nice to see them changing, becoming humble, and open to new experiences. They are resilient and maturing.  At this point, many of them are starting to identify with their new countries, and would rather stay than return home.

No one has been arrested, maimed,  pregnant, or kicked out of a country.  Whoohoo!


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