Wry Exchange


Exchange Students & Airport Welcomes
08-05-08, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Culture, Exchange Students | Tags: ,

   In the US, we only go to the airport if we have to.  It’s a chore.  In other places, they go because they want to.  Different culture.  It took me a while to catch on to this, too. 

 I usually went alone to pick up our exchange students.  The airport is an hour away, so why should everyone have to go?  Why take 2 or more cars?  Why should people take off work?  Why would I ask the host family to schlep all the way to the airport when I would just grab the student, and bring him home to them? 

I thought I was being polite and considerate.  (Stop laughing.  I can be nice.) I wanted to give the student time to clean up, relax a bit, and maybe puke on the way home.  I also thought I was saving the students from the embarrassment of a cheesy “Welcome to America” sign complete with balloons.  Then I finally realized the students felt unwanted and uncertain.  In South America especially, everyone and their brother goes to the airport for arrivals and departures.  

 Ask your student what airport greetings and farewells are like.  Then grab poster paper, magic markers, and the glitter and make a big sign.  Grab the family, and make a party at the airport.  Just remember if FES asks you to pull over, do it!

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