Exchange Student Volunteers Host Community Pumpkin Painting

The students of International Student Exchange and their Area Representative (Nancy Jo Wilson) put together a Pumpkin Painting Event for the children of Clifton-Clyde Area on Oct. 15, 2011. Youngsters who attended the event were invited to paint pumpkins, make ghosts, have their faces painted, play games and meet exchange students from all over the world.

20 foreign exchange students have been placed around North Central Kansas this year, and 17 of them were able to come and attend the event with the children.Thanks to generous donations from several local organizations including The Clifton American Legion who donated the Legion Hall; Sutton Family Farms from Norway, Kansas who donated the pumpkins; and Wal-Mart Super Center of Concordia, Kansas who donated a gift card to help purchase materials, the students and local children all had a chance to take part in the cultural exchange experience and spend an afternoon of fun with peers. Other donors for the event included SSC Trucking Inc. of Miltonvale, Kansas; Galen Haas; Sandy Schwab; Eva Schwab; Trisity Pope; Ashley Crowl; Haron Hartman; and Leah Schwab.
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As part of the ISE exchange program, students who participated at this event were able to log hours for ISE’s Project H.E.L.P, a community service component required of all students hosted here in the U.S. Host families of the students also volunteered to help make the day fun and eventful, lending their help and support to the students they sponsor.

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The children and their family members who attended were able to meet students representing the countries of Vietnam, Thailand, Slovakia, China, Taiwan, Brazil, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Ecuador, Venezuela, Spain, Germany and Turkey. Thank you for all those that donated to help make this event possible, and thank you to Clifton-Clyde High School for giving our students a chance to study and learn in the United States.

Foreign Exchange Students Volunteer at Northern Illinois Food Bank

International exchange students from the Great Lakes region volunteered their services last Saturday at the Northern Illinois Food Bank, collecting, boxing, and shipping food to food pantries and distribution centers all over the northern Illinois area. Tammy Hughes, the Regional Director of Great Lakes, stated that helping out at the NIFB, a collection center which helps over 500,000 hungry people in 13 counties annually in northern Illinois, is something she encourages her students to do on a monthly basis. “We do this all year long,” said Hughes.

Community service is a large part of the ISE program. Students who come to America under ISE sponsorship are expected to log at least five hours of community service while in the U.S., but these students have gone above and beyond, volunteering as often as two Saturdays a month for the duration of their program (anywhere from five months to a full year). ISE proudly salutes their efforts and the efforts of all those who make this program and its benefits possible. Below are several photos of the exchange students hard at work

Exchange Student Wins First Prize in Sidewalk Art Competition

International Student Exchange would like to congraulate Chinese exchange student, Tianhua Yang, for winning first prize in the Gesso Italiano (Italian Chalk) Competiton for his rendition of “Michaelangelo’s Bust of David With Butterflies.” The 2011 competition drew over 180 artists from all over the country, including many students from San Diego and surrounding cities. Winning in the division for “Best Educational Team,” Yang not only took home the satisfaction of a job well done, but a small cash prize as well. Below are photos of his stunningly vivid portrait.

Volunteering for Meals on Wheels

ISE students in Corning, NY helped prepare meals for Meals on Wheels. Regional Advisor of the Evergreen Region, Lisa Bruce, organized this event to help the exchange students learn about the importance of volunteering in communities.

A Plea for the Continuation of Cultural Exchange

There are really no more inspiring stories than those of bright, ambitious young people who come to the United States and become Ambassadors of the American Dream. I am not speaking of immigrants, but of Foreign Exchange Students who come to an American High School for a semester or a full school year. For the last 20 years my wife, Barbara Bostock, has been privileged to have brought over 2000 high school exchange students to the Orange County area, where they have stayed with American host families, studied in our local schools, and carried their stories, relationships, and the Promise of America back to their home countries with them. These are academically gifted students who often rise to levels of prominence and influence in their home countries when they return and begin their careers, and their fond memories of their American Experience can only be a positive influence on the Global Village at a time when there is so much discord in the world.

Add to that the real benefit to the American students of forming lifelong bonds with academic peers from Europe, Asia, and South America, and you would think that this would be a program with unequivocal support in our local schools.

Unfortunately that is no longer the case. All around Orange County schools are cutting back on the number of foreign exchange students they will allow into their programs, and some schools are refusing to take any students at all.

As an Englishman who came here as a college exchange student I can vouch for the fact that everyone is enriched by this experience—the schools, the exchange students, the host families, and the American peer group.

While I am sensitive to budgetary issues, the elimination of a handful of exchange students from a school pales in comparison to the bureaucratic waste that routinely occurs, and the detriment to the community, the students, the school, and international relations far outweighs any minor savings there may be.

Restricting high-achieving foreign students from our schools, where their presence can only enrich and encourage the pursuit of excellence, is shortsighted and counterproductive. I urge families in our communities to encourage this tremendous program, and I challenge our local schools not to turn further inward, but to look outward and understand what it is that America has to offer the world.