Wry Exchange

Exchange Students, Funerals, & Respect
05-12-08, 11:09 pm
Filed under: Culture, Exchange Students, Inbounds Inbounds | Tags:

 I followed a funeral procession out of town Saturday to the intersection of Town-road and Main-highway.  It was a long procession, and as they crossed the highway many of the cars went through a red light.  I wouldn’t have usually thought anything unusual about the cars and trucks waiting courteously, but it made me happy to live here in the states at that moment.

We had our final exchange student meeting of the year this weekend.  I always ask the students what they liked, will miss, and what they learned this year.  Several of them surprised me by saying ‘respect.’  One of the boys said in his country people don’t say ‘please’ or ‘excuse me’ when they bump into someone.  He wasn’t conscious of other people’s feelings, especially workers and others less fortunate.  The students liked  how people were courteous to everyone.  Another student defended his choice of the United States to his friends.  The friends asked him why did he want to go to the states; that people were selfish and didn’t care about anyone else.  He told us when he returns home, he’ll tell everyone how great the people here were to him.  To me, it seemed like many of the kids come from cultures where you are polite and respectful to friends and family, but strangers can go drop dead. 

We talked about the various meetings and activities of the year.  When I asked them about touring a funeral home, they were enthusiastic.  They thought it was a great idea, educational, and a good experience. Many of our customs are different from theirs, and many had never been in a funeral home before.   As in the past, they highly recommended we keep touring the funeral home.  We will, as long as we are invited.  I’m fairly certain the owner enjoys teaching the FESs about US funeral customs.  The kids paid close attention and asked great questions.  They wanted to climb into the caskets for photos, but didn’t pout too much when they were told ‘no, not possible.

It’s all the unexpected little moments that make me hopeful for the world’s future.


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Enjoyed your comments about FES and respect!! The whole ideas is an exchange of cultures and in our small city…. I think FES see REAL America!!

Comment by JWR

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