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Thu Dec 5, 2019, 11:39 AM

The Foreign Exchange Student

Years ago, when my daughters attended high school, we had a foreign exchange student from France stay with our family. It seemed possible that there would be more than a bit of “culture shock,” considering she came from a well-to-do background in Paris, and we live in the sticks. But from day one, it was a blast for all of us.

My daughters visited her in France this summer, and she is planning to come here next year. I always enjoyed talking about politics with her, and we continue this tradition on the internet. Since Trump “won” the presidency, there has been a lot to discuss. Not surprisingly, she says the people she knows think of Trump as a sick joke, and are concerned that the United States is experiencing a serious illness. I get messages from her that simply say, "Oh, Donald!" is a popular saying among young adults in France.

Last night, I told her to thank Emmanuel Macron for me.Her response has been laughter.

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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Foreign Exchange Student (Original post)
H2O Man Dec 5 OP
Borchkins Dec 5 #1
H2O Man Dec 5 #3
malaise Dec 5 #6
H2O Man Dec 5 #11
malaise Dec 5 #13
H2O Man Dec 5 #15
malaise Dec 5 #16
Bettie Dec 6 #21
cilla4progress Dec 5 #2
H2O Man Dec 5 #4
cilla4progress Dec 5 #7
H2O Man Dec 5 #12
cilla4progress Dec 6 #24
in2herbs Dec 5 #5
H2O Man Dec 5 #14
in2herbs Dec 8 #30
stevesinpa Dec 8 #28
in2herbs Dec 8 #29
customerserviceguy Dec 5 #8
NBachers Dec 5 #9
H2O Man Dec 5 #18
H2O Man Dec 5 #17
llmart Dec 5 #10
H2O Man Dec 5 #19
Bernardo de La Paz Dec 6 #20
H2O Man Dec 6 #22
soldierant Dec 6 #25
Bernardo de La Paz Dec 7 #26
central scrutinizer Dec 6 #23
Fritz Walter Dec 7 #27

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 11:42 AM

1. Exchange students are the best.

Our son went to Bolivia for the last school year. He had a wonderful experience and made friends he will have for the rest of his life.

We have an exchange student from Japan this year. She has been a delight. She knows nothing of politics, but I expect the political discussions to happen when the kids are all older.

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Response to Borchkins (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 11:49 AM

3. My youngest daughter

recently did a semester at the University College in Cork, Ireland. While not exactly the same as being a foreign exchange high school student, she had a great experience there. Her older sister had spent a semester in India, rather than taking the option of Ireland. Considering our family history, I asked her why? She said that she would end up visiting Ireland anyhow, but wanted the opportunity to study a program on feeding the poor in India. She did visit her sister in Ireland, and they had a blast visiting the hamlet near Cork named for our family.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 12:13 PM

6. One of my nieces spent a Semester in Spain as an exchange student

and then worked for a year in Costa Rica. She loved it.

I have a special place for exchange students - they are curious and interesting

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Response to malaise (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 04:57 PM

11. I think that travel

opens the mind. Not that I ever traveled that far. But Spain and Costa Rica would be high among the places I'd love to visit if I were young.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 05:00 PM

13. Yes and yes

Her first overseas trip was to me - after that she was hooked

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Response to malaise (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 05:06 PM

15. I've never been

overseas. Just in North America. My children have all traveled extensively. My first choice would be Ireland, to visit some family members there.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 05:09 PM

16. As the ad says

Just Do It!

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Response to Borchkins (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 6, 2019, 08:41 AM

21. At my mother-in-law's funeral last month

the Japanese exchange student they had while the he was in high school was there. Apparently, he has been in contact with her for all these years. He's a really kind man, a dentist, now living in Texas.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 11:45 AM

2. We had an exchange student from Afghanistan

in 2010. She escaped to Canada rather than return home at the end of her stay. We watched her graduate from college there last year. Quite a story!

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Response to cilla4progress (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 11:51 AM

4. That is so cool!

Thank you for helping her! It must have been really rewarding to see her graduate from college!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 12:30 PM

7. Yes,

amazing....

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Response to cilla4progress (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 04:57 PM

12. I've been thinking

about this since reading it earlier today. It makes me happy to think about.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #12)

Fri Dec 6, 2019, 10:53 AM

24. It's a crazy story...

I've shared it here before. It was a roller coaster year, but ended positively, and changed my family for life!

Obama was President and Nadia and I shared a love of him. She has become quite politically astute - studied international law / foreign relations at college in Canada. ☺

I recently wrote her to apologize for being a bit aloof...expressed how depressing it is to be an American at this time!

She let me know that she loves me.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 12:10 PM

5. In the early 90's we had two exchange students at the same time (not related) from Korea. They were

young, 10 and 11. They went to a special student exchange school during the day but at night and on the weekends their time was with us. Their English consisted mainly of "pizza" "Pepsi" "Phoenix Suns" and "Apache helicopter" because of the video game. I learned it was incredibly rude to feed them left overs. Packed them a lunch every day that included Kim Chee (yuck). The containers were permanently stained because of the Kim Chee. They loved the horses and rural life style. When we needed help communicating we'd go to a Korean restaurant and ask one of the employees to translate for us. I think the one boy was developing a crush on the one girl. When their parents called from Korea it was the middle of the night over here so communicating to them that their children were safe -- just asleep --- was difficult. We obtained special permission from the government for the two boys to sit in an Apache helicopter, something no Korean had done up to that time. One boy sat in the front the other in the back. The boy in the front started playing with his front seat "joy stick" and almost knocked the teeth out of the boy sitting in the back because his joy stick moved in unison to the front seat's joy stick. Stayed in communication for a few years after that but lost contact when we moved and our address changed.

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Response to in2herbs (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 05:03 PM

14. Nice!

That sounds like an adventure, one those two will never forget.

One of my uncles was employed by the government, working in Vietnam and South Korea. He ended up adopting two orphans from SK. They were 3 and 4 at the time, and spoke no English. I remember them playing on my Grandmother's living room floor, and her scolding them, "You are acting like children!" It wasn't an act, of course, as they were children. But it was nice of her to treat them like she did all her other grandchildren. (On edit: both are now doctors in California.)

One of my closest friends married a lady from SK, who came to the US to become a doctor. They both were doctors, in fact. She died a year ago. But I loved talking to her about her life growing up in SK.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #14)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 01:46 PM

30. We adopted our daughter from South Korea. nt

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Response to in2herbs (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 12:14 PM

28. it's crazy that the foreign exchange program

would send two such young children to a country where they don't speak the main language. and wouldn't even inform the parents of the time difference of where the children were so they could call at the appropriate time.
but to your comment about it being rude to eat leftovers in Korea, the entire idea of the foreign exchange is to learn other cultures. the boys were apparently too young to understand this, hence why the program shouldn't have sent them.
why did you need special permission from the government? why didn't you just find an air show to take them to? you could have had them sit in several aircraft.
it also seems you didn't want to keep in touch with them after you moved, since you didn't forward your address change to them.

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Response to stevesinpa (Reply #28)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 01:43 PM

29. My goodness you sure made some unfounded and incorrect assumptions. The policy of the foreign

exchange program I had no control over. The Apache helicopter is a helicopter of war and specific and tight restrictions are placed on the manufacturer (Boeing) for national security reasons and one of these reasons does not allow ANY civilians in the Apache except those test pilots that have received permission from the government. The kids didn't want to see just any object of flight, they wanted to see an Apache helicopter. We surprised them when told them they could sit in one. The memory of that moment will linger longer than if they'd been to just any air show. Another incorrect assumption by you is that you have concluded that we didn't want to keep in touch with them. Before they left I asked them to write their home address in Korea on 12 envelopes. In this way I could be reasonably assured that the letters we'd send would arrive. The kids were young and as such their attention span is short. I never expected to be communicating with them for a life time, but I am grateful that I could give them the time of their life when they were here and hopefully they have been paying the goodness they received forward.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 01:26 PM

8. About 20-25 years ago

I had several over a matter of years. They really help you see your own culture through new eyes.

And, dinnertimes were fun, hours of discussion over what was learned in school that day, going over current events, etc. How many parents ask their kid at the table, "So, what did you do in school today?" and get back a dull, "Nothin" ? That doesn't happen with exchange students!

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 01:46 PM

9. "Nothin" that takes me back to the less-than-one syllable grunts I used to get from my teen age son

when I'd ask him a question. We're way beyond that stage now, but I always thought it was a humorous and typical stage of his development.

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Response to NBachers (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 05:15 PM

18. Ha!

I hear you. And I hear my boys doing that, too.

My father used to laugh and say the boys were his revenge for what I put him through.

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 05:11 PM

17. Well said!

It was fascinating to hear how others thought of America. Still is!

And my boys never seemed to want to talk about their days in school, from junior high on. I did, however, get called to the school several times to discuss their behaviors. I recognize now that, when we sat at the table, they had learned to distract me by asking if I had seen anything of interest in the news. (My daughters always wanted to talk about their day in school, straight through college. My only calls from school regarding them were for awards and other positive things.)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 04:12 PM

10. Still a wonderful program and I hope it continues.

My son was an exchange student in Germany. He has said many times that it was the most educational experience of his life. Though his German family spoke fluent English as most do, he decided he was going to use his three years of high school German as much as he could while living there. He also wrote in a journal every day and he is now 49 and every once in awhile will reread the entries he wrote as a sixteen year old. As an adult he continues to travel whenever he can.

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Response to llmart (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 5, 2019, 05:16 PM

19. That's great!

I really like that he enjoys reading the journal!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Dec 6, 2019, 08:34 AM

20. The new phrase of the age: "Ah, Go tRump yourself!" . . . . nt

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 6, 2019, 09:48 AM

22. I like that!

I'll probably find myself using that one.

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 6, 2019, 09:39 PM

25. Oh my. May I humbly suggest extending that to "tRump you very much"? nt

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Response to soldierant (Reply #25)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 07:51 AM

26. By all means. "tRump" is the new negative verb and all parts of speech that flow from that.


"How very tRumpy of you."

"You god forsaken mother-trumping piece of orange ...."

"She broke it but good. She really trumped it up."

"The guy who lost the championship game by fumbling, ... He really trumped himself."

"She really told him what-for. She trumped all over him."

Please, ... be inventive!



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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Dec 6, 2019, 10:28 AM

23. Hosting is wonderful

My daughter went to Chile as a high school foreign exchange student for a year. That motivated us to host a high school student from Thailand for a year. Then we got involved with a program at the university that helps international students and visiting scholars get acclimated. They live with you for a time until they find housing and we help them get a local bank, phone, etc. There’s another organization in town that brings disability advocates from all over the world to town for trainings. They also look for local hosts. So far we have hosted people from Japan, China, Ecuador, Nepal, Pakistan, Germany, England, Finland, France, and India. I’m still in contact with many of them. I’ve gotten lots of great recipes.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 03:21 PM

27. It's fun to visit them post-exchange

They treat you like family. Maybe better.
Your money is no good there.
They take you places that only “locals” know about.
You get the total immersion experience. Stay there long enough, and you learn the language (which makes you appreciate their language- and other cultural adaptation-challenges when they were teens staying in your home).

And, if the 2020 election is attacked like it was in ‘16, you might be able to start anew in another land.

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