Wry Exchange

“Everything’s a Test”
12-07-08, 2:57 am
Filed under: Exchange Program, Exchange Students, Outbounds Outbounds | Tags:

  We recently had our interviews for all potential exchange students for next year.   It was the first time we met many of the students.  Local counselors and high schools tell the potential outgoing students about our program, then forward the applications on to me.  Since we’re all volunteers, nothing is ever done on time.   (Someone told me this week another student wants to apply, but he asked the kid to send him the application, not me.  No sense of urgency.)

We tell the students “Everything’s a test.”  We observe all interactions and behavior.  They of course have memories like goldfish-three seconds-and forget.  We watch to see if they sit alone, talk with anyone new, stay close to their parents, and how they interact with their families.   

It’s very telling when students are rude or condescending to someone they don’t think is important.   As volunteers, we all pitch in to help.  The receptionist or food server for the day may be the group’s chairman.

We also pay attention to how well they take direction.   The students know I am our outbound student chairman.  You’d think they would be sucking up since they don’t know yet if they have been accepted or where they’ll be assigned.  You’d be wrong.  I’ve asked three times for information from some of them without results.   I have applications without transcripts, photos, medical records, or signatures.  If I can’t get a student to comply with a request now, how can I expect them to follow rules in another country?


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I had district interviews this weekend. It was such a fun experience just to meet the new kids and learn more about my potential exchange. I know how much work it was for all the adults and volunteers who put it together. I’d just like to say “thank you” to you, too, for doing that for other kids.

Comment by Mariah

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