Wry Exchange


I’m Sending You Home
10-12-08, 12:23 am
Filed under: Culture, Exchange Program, Exchange Students, Inbounds Inbounds | Tags: ,

 “I’m sending you home tomorrow.”  Because I don’t like FES, and I’m the adult.  It happens.  My last post was about avoiding early termination.  I’m still thinking about it.   

I wrote about my nasty neighbor last Summer.  She was an Area Rep for an exchange program.  No other volunteers lived in a 50-60 mile radius, so she was the only contact her students had.  She was the FES counselor, and sometime host parent.  She had the power to send students home early.  I’ve heard stories about some of her students early returns.  I believe some of her students were unfairly terminated.

Could it happen in my program?  Possibly, if no one knew about it.  I think it probably was much easier to wrongfully terminate a student before the internet and cell phones.  With texting, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and online chatting, students can notify their parents, friends, and other adults immediately.

How could it happen?  Let’s pretend. I live in a small town.  I know most people in town.  I want people to patronize my business.  My wife’s church contacts are very important to her, she doesn’t want her reputation questioned.  My kids go to school with the host family’s children.  My husband’s boss is the host-mom.  The hostfamily lives across the street, and I want to keep the peace in the neighborhood.  

Next, assuming there are legitimate problems between the student and host family, the logical step would be to move the student.   But the host family is very prominent in our small town.  Maybe I have a huge ego.  The student is a reflection of us.  We convince ourselvesdetermine the student is at fault, and she needs to go home.   We don’t want to move the student somewhere else in town.  Oh no, what would people think?  What if the student lied about living with us?  We tried everything.   The student could be moved to a different town, but that doesn’t validate our feelings. 

We KNOW FES is a bad student.  No one should question me.  I’m the adult in charge.   If I move quickly, I can have a kid out of the country within 24 hours.  All I need is her passport and airline tickets.  I also have to notify someone in her program overseas and the parents.  I can do it on the way to the airport if I’m really being a bitch.  It’s easy enough to bully a scared teen into packing.

How can we prevent this travesty?  Our program has always had a committee to discuss possible early terminations.  The committee is the President, VP, the country specialist, the inbound student chairman, and the student’s counselor.  The committee speaks to the host-family, student, school, and the Feslandia counselor.  At the end of fact-finding, we vote.  If the vote isn’t unanimous, the student stays. 

This procedure wasn’t followed in two early termination discussions in my program.  One student stayed, and the other was railroaded sent home.   Take us by surprise once, but never again.    I’ve taken kids to my town that other counselors believed were hopeless.   The kids all flourished.  People need to listen to the students, and remember the students are young, emotional, stressed, scared, and have language and cultural barriers.

ETA: If someone really wants to ship FES home, and no one else agrees, it’s best to move the student to a different town.  The adult may just be waiting for the student to ‘screw up,’ so he can be terminated.  Added bonus?  The adult was right about that horrible exchange student.



More Coincidences
08-28-08, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags: , ,

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!  Both Husband’s and my laptops are dead.   Mine “only” has a dead AC adapter/charger.  Husband’s is much more serious.  His AC adapter/charger is also dead, and so is his battery.  The odd thing is his charger and battery died with no warning.   It acquired a virus somehow, and really messed up the entire computer.  He had the Blue Screen of Death®.  Husband is not a happy man. 

Chef knows nothing about how any of this happened.  He feels really bad, and took my baby laptop to a friend’s to charge.  He’s bringing the charger home to try to fix Husband’s. 

Good thing we bought the external hard drive earlier this month.  Husband is on his way to work, and asked me to back up his entire contents.  He said if I let Chef do the backing up,  don’t let him know. 😉



Why I Hate People, Part 49
04-25-08, 12:42 am
Filed under: Exchange Students, hosting, Inbounds Inbounds | Tags: ,

 One of my nearby students moved this week.  This is the first time one of the kids moved without me facilitating.  The families worked it out between themselves.  Which means I didn’t know FES moved.  Family #1 must have really wanted the kid out of their house!  I don’t have the paperwork filed from the new family yet.  Dad’s a minister, I know him, but still.   I’m pissed.

The kid was online tonight, and I told him I have a box from home for him.  Many times parents send gifts to our house instead of the host family’s home.  Anyway, FES lets me know he’s home alone.  The family is in another state.  That’s so against the rules.  I just went and brought the kid back here to our house.  It’s 12:15am.  The hostfather asked Husband if it was OK to leave FES alone for the day.  That’s how we found out the move was made.  Husband said ‘Yes, for the day is fine.’  That doesn’t mean overnight.   It’s only 2 blocks away, but still.  I gave them the rules.  New Hostdad has been around the kid since he arrived in August.  I thought he understood how exchange studenting works. I’m really pissed. 

And the house is a huge, honkin’ mess.  I’m moving things around to make office space for Husband in a small room off the living room.   The space was filled with my office stuff, so I am moving it all over-attic, basement, recycle bin, spare bedroom, etc.  I have a sink full of dishes because I cut my thumb while moving crap.   We’re out of milk and bread, too.  I was going to the store tomorrow.  We don’t eat breakfast.   Can ya tell I’m discombobulated?