Wry Exchange

Europeans, Asians, and Latinos
07-28-08, 7:38 pm
Filed under: Culture, hosting | Tags: , , ,

¬†This post went in a different way, so I have fodder for another about who I like to host later this week. ūüôā¬† This post is about who gets placed when and¬†sometimes why.¬† (As always, these are just my impressions.)

First, girls are much easier to place than boys.¬† People thinkgirls are easy and sweet.¬† Hah!¬† Once a boy is placed, that’s usually it.¬†¬†They are generally fine and easy going.¬†¬†Our problems are easily 10-1 girls vs. boys.¬† Girls are fighters, and stronger willed.¬†¬†Most of the boys are more like “f*ck it, whatever.”¬†
¬†The students from Western Europe tend to be placed first.¬† I think it’s because everyone ‘knows’¬† France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.¬† The countries¬†are familiar to people.¬†¬†I believe people think “They’re just like us.”¬†¬†Counselors will say they want a student from Italy or Spain, and they don’t care if it’s a boy or girl, or anything but the country.¬† Some will ask a year in advance to ‘host the Italian.’¬† These kids are hot commodities.

People aren’t as well versed on Eastern Europe; some believe Czechoslovakia still exists.¬† (Not just John McCain, either.)¬† Those students are the most difficult to place, but they’re ¬†wonderful.¬† They have great English skills, and do well in US schools.¬† We’ve never had a single problem with a boy from Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, or Poland, and very few with the girls.¬† (The problems with the girls are with suggestive clothing. Big whoop.)¬† The girls are a little bit more open to fun, and the boys are focused on school, not girls or sports.¬†(More likely, they’re just smart enough not to ever be caught.)

¬† We typically exchange with Taiwan, Japan, India, and Thailand.¬† We’ve never hosted students from Asia in my town.¬†I generally leave those¬†students to be hosted by larger towns than mine.¬† Those kids are from heavily populated cities, and I live in a village with less than¬†400¬†students in the high school.¬†¬† My town is lower middle class compared with other cities and towns in my area. The only language taught is Spanish.¬† (My goal is to inspire students from¬†here to want to go explore the world.)¬†¬†The Asian students usually are placed quickly.¬† They have excellent reputations as great youth ambassadors.¬†¬†

Finally, we have the Americans.¬† These are the ones tough to place.¬† Do you know annually the kids are asked-by adults-¬†if they live in trees, have computers, wear shoes, have pet monkeys, etc.?¬† Once a counselor has hosted a student from a South American country, then it’s fine-for that particular country.¬† Same with families. Then we start again with the next South American country.¬†¬† What do people know about Bolivia?¬† Not much, and probably nothing positive.¬† What do people think when they hear Colombia or Venezuela?

Dead last are the Mexicans.¬† People assume the kids are just looking for a way to stay in the states.¬†¬† It’s so difficult to place Mexican students.¬† These kids are bright, lively, well brought up teens.¬† (It’s difficult to interest outbound students in Mexico, too.¬† “It’s too close.”¬† We try to tell them it’s an entirely different, large country with a rich, varied culture.¬†

See also Exchange Students are people, 2 and Exchange students are people too  for more about stereotypes and prejudice.


09-25-07, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Culture, Exchange Program, Home | Tags: , , , , ,

US exchange students are stereotyped.¬† The girls are all slutty fashionista cheerleader airheads,¬†and the guys are all huge dumb horny jocks.¬† Many of our students actually are band kids, drama rats, and people who know there is an entire world waiting to be explored.¬†¬† Our students have to overcome Hollywood’s image of them, and prove themselves.¬†¬† For some people, our students will be the first Americans they’ll meet.
Inbound students are sex-crazed, funny losers.¬† Sometimes they are depicted as nerdy geniuses with no social skills.¬†¬†¬†It‚Äôs so not true, but look at all the movie depictions of foreign exchange students.¬† Look at Fez from ‚ÄėThat 70‚Äôs Show.‚Äô¬† The poor kid never even had a name.¬† ‘Fez’ stood for Foreign Exchange Student.¬†¬† Many of the South American kids are asked if they live in trees, use money, or¬†wear shoes.¬† Teachers have argued with students that they can’t possibly have DSL in their homes.¬†
When people meet exchange students, their perception changes.   They see that exchange students are individuals, not a stereotype. 
Personal note: I just finished cooking for 90 minutes making¬†a ton of food, mostly to freeze.¬† I left the room for 30 seconds to type a sentence before I forgot it.¬† I heard a slurping sound, and feet hitting the floor.¬†¬†The¬†damn dog¬†wolfed down half the contents of an 8×8 pyrex baking dish.¬† Dinner will now be roasted Doberman Pinscher.