North Central Pot Luck Dinner: A Community Contribution

There are those who believe that the American sense of family, the community that exists between, among, and within families in his country, has become a thing of the past. It seems rare that people discuss or even mention the inherent complexity and importance of the American family dynamic and its effect on the cultural image we project in the global community. Long gone are the days of the Cleaver Family, Good Housekeeping, and Betty Crocker images Americans are so famous for producing, but what has not changed is the core idealism: We are a nation of families, and those families form the bonds that hold the nation together. What our families do, who are families are, and what our families strive for, the ambition and the sacrifice, the mutability of the modern family, and its capability to adapt to ever shifting cultural change is the reason we can continue, despite political disorder, economic uncertainty, and civil unrest, to coexists and move forward as a nation.

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There are those who would argue that a high divorce rate and a dwindling marriage rate would indicate the contrary, but all these statistics mean is that we are augmenting the way we interpret the idea of family. We are collectively broadening our understanding of what familial bonds mean and how they function, and we are looking toward the future with a greater understanding for what the American family dynamic may come to be. Change is the engine of our social constitution, and the American Family, along with the American Ideal, the American Dream, and the American People, will evolve as a whole.

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You may ask, “What does this have to do with student exchange?” In a word: Everything. Families and students are fundamental elements of the exchange program. Without our host families our students would have no means to experience the U.S., and without the academic and edifying interests of the students there would be no cultural exchange program.

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As a cultural exchange program, we expect our students and families to share in one another’s traditions and customs. Students come to study in American schools, meet other American students, and become a part of the American family. The importance of “integration” is paramount, because the most successful pairings are the ones where the student comes to meet the host family and the student is seamlessly inducted as a member. But it matters just as much that the students bring their customs and values with them to the U.S., and that the host family reaches toward understanding, sharing who the student is and what he or she has learned both within the family and outwardly in their community.

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These iconic exchange moments, while magnanimous and significant in scope and effect, often take place amidst what most Americans would consider ordinary events. It is the sharing of food, the discussion of differences in customs and traditions, the immersion in pop culture and cinema, or the experience of setting foot in an American city. In these everyday moments Americans and foreign exchange students are forging a path towards global enlightenment and understanding; they are, very simply and nobly, exchanging ideas and participating in the one and only kind of merger that is ever going to unify this planet.

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For these reasons and others the students and families of the North Central region deserve a little recognition for carrying the torch that much further with their community pot luck dinner. Whether they realize it or not, each and every person in attendance is taking part in something bigger and greater than just a meal, though it is the food and promise of a good laugh or a conversation that draws people to the event in the first place. Students from all over the globe and families from all over the region met together, some of them for the first time, and shared in a simple dinner, the end result of which was another small (albeit essential) step forward towards the achievement of a unified global community.

The smiling faces and hungry eyes are enough recognition of the importance of this culinary cultural exchange, but the memories these people will take home with them, the experiences the students will take back overseas, and the bonds they will form that outlast the best of meals are what matters to our organization and to our families. Thank you to North Central for giving these students and families the chance to become active purveyors of the exchange ideal, and for all the people who made this night possible.

12 Year Old Host Sister Loves Student Exchange

Student exchange touches the lives of all that are involved. Take for instance a 12 year old who is a host sister to an exchange student. She wrote a poem about how much she loves having an exchange student live with her.

You came here on a
will,

the thought sometimes
gave you a chill.

Just a wink until you
were there,

but now you love and
care.

Studied hard in
school with tests,

and sometimes had
your regrets,

came through
though,came out strong,

and up on stage on
Graduation Day is where you belong.

Sometimes we argued
and fought,

then strength in each
other is what we sought.

Because we were
sisters, we didn’t always agree,

but you’ll always be
on top for me.

You were here,

here just one year.

Changing me and
changing you,

making friends, it’s
what we do.

I’ll miss you when
you’re gone,

but back home is
where you belong.

I know I’ll cry, but
thank you anyways,

I promise I’ll
remember you always.

Thanks
again for all the cool stuff!

Samantha

We can always look positively upon the impact that student exchange has not only host families, but on the children that live with these exchange students.

A Student Raves About Exchange Program at Home in Germany

An exchange student that recently returned home from his exchange program in the United States through ISE had his natural parents write a letter of thanks to his local exchange coordinator. Student exchange has the ability to transform lives and provide a wonderful program for students from all over the world:

Dear Barbara,

We now have Philipp back since a week. It seems like he has settled down very well in Germany. Actually we had a welcome party for him on the day he arrived.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank you again for the great support you provided to Philipp and us during his stay in the US. Philipp’s stay was such a great experience for him, he liked Cornwall High School a lot, the teachers, students and all the activities around the school like sports activities and drama club were great. He made a lot of friends in Cornwall and among the exchange students. Last but not least the Heaneys are such a great family that perfectly fit to Philipp, we believe they are the perfect host family that Philipp could have picked.

You and your organization did such a great job in making all this possible.
Keep continuing this great work.

Why Hosting Can Change Your Life

Hosting a foreign exchange student is a life changing activity that can only bring positive energy to you and your household. The reasons for hosting are many and the experience lasts a lifetime. ISE is proud of its mission and the representatives that work throughout the United States to make this lofty dream a reality. So why should anyone host an exchange student?

Exchange students enrich your life by sharing their foreign culture and experiences.

Have you thought about hosting an exchange student recently?

Open your heart and mind to a life changing experience by contacting a local ISE representative today.

German Exchange Student Shines on the West Coast

This story comes direct from our Pacific Coast region where one of its German exchange students has shined as a tennis prodigy. We are all delighted to see that ISE students have had such a positive impact on the towns in which they live. Congratulations!

*By Zach Urness of the Daily Courier*

Chris Krause has come a very long way to play tennis for Grants Pass High School, so he’s not about to let a few injured ribs and a gimpy wrist keep him out of the Class 6A state tournament. Krause is a foreign exchange student from Frankfurt, Germany, and also happens to be among the best tennis players in the state. The problem is that he’s had some trouble staying at 100 percent.

During the Southwest Conference district championships this past Saturday, Krause reached the semifinals and was playing a hard-fought match against Omeed Balou of South Eugene when something went wrong.

“I went up to serve, and I felt something snap,” Krause said. “I couldn’t breathe very well and I knew something was wrong.

“I didn’t want to quit, so I served underhanded for the rest of the match.”

Krause made it through that match, but after a forfeit, he finished in fourth place. He said he’ll be able to play at the Class 6A state championships, which begin Thursday at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton, but it’ll require a few augmentations to his game.

“I won’t be able to hit it as hard as I normally do,” Krause said. “It will be more about hitting the ball in the (correct) spots. I’ll be thinking before every point, trying to see whether (my opponent) has a weak backhand, or there’s a spot on the court he doesn’t cover well.”

Grants Pass coach Ralph Van Delden said not being 100 percent is fairly frustrating for Krause. “He’s so disappointed” Van Delden said. “I think he’ll still do pretty well, just because he’s such a good player. But I think if he was totally healthy he’d at least make the semi-finals. He beat a lot of the best players this (past) winter.”

Although the injuries have been a frustration — he also nicked up his wrist earlier in the year — Krause has had a memorable time in the United States.

He said the fact that athletes in the United States represent their high schools makes playing sports more enjoyable.

“I love playing sports here,” he said. “In Germany, you play in clubs and there’s no school sports. I love the way, in America, that everyone is behind you. The people in the school are always wishing you luck.

“The first time I went to a football game I couldn’t believe it. There were people with their faces painted the school colors and everyone was going crazy. You would never see that in Germany.”

Another benefit Krause has found in the United States is the ease of getting a driver’s license. In Germany, he said it can cost upward of $2,000 to acquire. In the U.S., however, he can get a license that will work in Germany for a fraction of the price.

“It’s a great opportunity,” he said.

Krause isn’t the only Caveman making the trip to the state tournament.

The doubles team of Robby Hobbs and Trevor Van Delden also finished in fourth place at the district championships, and will face first-round opponents Stephen Schirle and Ryan McAfee of Barlow. Ralph Van Delden said he hopes both can win a couple of matches, in either the championship or consolation bracket, to build their confidence for the upcoming season.

“The younger kids definitely feel the pressure,” Ralph Van Delden said of the atmosphere of the state tournament. “So even if they don’t win a ton of matches, it will still be a good experience.”

GRANTS PASS GIRLS

The sole player to reach the class 6a state tournament on the girls side was Kelsey Frey, who finished in third place at the SWC district championships.

Frey won one match at this past season’s state tournament before getting knocked into the consolation bracket, and said earlier this month that her main goal is just to win a couple more matches.

Frey will face Krissy Moore of West Walem in her first match, but if she wins, she’ll match up against the overall top seed, Sophia Bott of Southridge, at the Portland Tennis Center.

“It’s a tough draw, no doubt,” Grants Pass Coach Rebecca Clark said. “But she’s played very well lately, and she’s certainly not going to lay down and die. She’s a fighter, and you never know what can happen on any given day.”

ISE Selects Three Recipients of the Jordan Nagler Memorial Scholarship Fund

ISE has announced the recipients of the annual Jordan Nagler Scholarship for the 2010-11 academic year. The scholarship is in honor of Jordan Nagler who was the Executive Director of International Student Exchange from 2003 until his passing in October of 2008. The criterion for this scholarship selection is a demonstration of academic excellence and a dedicated work ethic.

  • Ricardo Fabian Martinez Isias is 17 years old and lives in Leon, in the central highlands of Mexico. Ricardo was selected based on his demonstrated desire to succeed, even in the face of adversity. Attending English language school is quite expensive, and his family could not afford to send him. Rather than deterring Ricardo, this only encouraged him to teach himself English through reading and studying which he began doing at the age of 8. He now speaks English very well and will have no language problem in an American high school. He has proven that hard work and dedication pay off by maintaining an A average in all of his studies. In his free time he enjoys participating in gymnastics, basketball, and community service work. Although Ricardo is only 17, he has taken the hardships in his life and turned them into learning experiences. This has transformed him into a gracious and determined young man who appreciates and takes advantage of every opportunity available to him.

  • Andreas Jacob Svensson is 17 years old and lives in Uppsala, Sweden. Uppsala is the fourth largest city in Sweden and is 50 miles from Stockholm, the nation’s capital. Andreas is dedicated to both his studies and his sports. Floorball has become a passion of his. Since he has become such a skilled player, he has decided to help teach and inspire others. In his spare time, he also trains and instructs younger students in soccer. He speaks English at an advanced level and does well in his studies despite the challenges and obstacles he has had to overcome throughout the past few years. While his family has tried to create a balance between work and support, it has become difficult for them financially. Understanding that his parents could not afford such a program as ours, Andreas searched for other means and was successful in connecting with ISE. Andreas is looking forward to not only creating a new experience for him but also plans to inspire his new friends and family. He’s looking forward to his stay in America as the experience of a lifetime.
  • Duc Thien Ly is from Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam and attends Ben Tre Province’s High School for The Gifted where he maintains an A average due to his enormous work ethic. He has a great self learning ability and excels in all of his studies. Whether it be at home or in school, Duc manages to lend a
    hand wherever it is needed. He is glad to help with chores around his home and is always looking to help his peers at school. Based on his school classes and his own dedication to learning, Duc tutors English 3 times a week to a ninth grade student. The money he earns from tutoring goes towards partially supporting his own schooling since his parents’ multiple sources of income are still not enough to support the level of education Duc is capable of receiving. He is 17 years old and enjoys soccer, badminton, music, and reading. Duc is not only a hardworking and respectful student and son but he is also exceptionally grateful for each and every opportunity that he is given.

The young men chosen for this scholarship all work hard to be excellent students and have a full life. These traits exemplify the work and life of Jordan Nagler, and ISE is proud to recognize and reward those characteristics through this scholarship.

Special Interest News Story on Local Area Representative

Cybele Owen, an area representative in the Capital Region outside the Washington D.C. area recently had a special interest article written about her in a professional business online magazine. Here is what the magazine had to say about Cybele:

Travel was in Cybele Owen’s blood; she was a tour guide for several years and loved learning about different cultures. But when the hours and the demands of her position became too much, Owen knew she needed a new job with the same stimulation as her old one.Becoming a liasion for International Student Exchange was the perfect solution.“What I enjoy the most is meeting new people and finding out their interests,” Owen says of her new position, matching students from around the world with couples interested in hosting an exchange student for an extended period of time. “I thought of the tours I really enjoyed, and remembered a tour of nineteen exchange students in Florida. I really enjoyed learning about them and their culture.”

The host families provide room, board,and a caring atmosphere, but they receive a lot in return,” They don’t get any financial incentive; it’s about being connected to the global environment. The host families get to learn, on a first hand level, about other countries with no expense. Traveling to these countries is very pricey, especially for a family of four,” explains Owen.

Working for a student exchange seemed a natural choice for Owen, who was an exchange student herself for a year and a half in China. She now works with students from China, as well as from Germany, Vietnam, and Spain.

ISE Presents Plaque to High School In Michigan

ISE’s representative, Denise Rose, recently presented Mr. Baese of Ovid-Elsie High School in Elsie, Michigan with a plaque to thank the school for its continued dedication to the goal of student exchange. At ISE we are impressed by the support and commitment that schools have shown us year after year. Without individuals like Mr. Baese, student exchange would not have the strong foundation it does today. Thank you, Mr. Baese!

Food Drive in Utah

Kristene Baldwin of Utah recently invited a group of ISE exchange students to take part in a  food bank. This allows for our exchange students to understand the importance of community service and helping others. We are very proud of the positive contributions that our exchange students make every year. Congratulations to Kristene!

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Pebbles-Food-Drive

The Positive Impact of Exchange Students in New Hampshire

One of ISE’s area representatives has discovered that exchange students are a source of inspiration, positivity, and joy. In her house she mantains an “Exchange Wall,” where her students imprint their handprints to mark their arrival, stay, and departure. It is a wonderful experience to share and unite students from around the world, as well as Americans that host the exchange students. She has found that exchange students have expanded her cultural horizons and have changed the way she views the world. Here is a letter she wrote, followed by pictures of her students in Boston, MA recently.

Dear ISE,

I’m a matchmaker by nature and a people person. Working for ISE has helped me to become more outgoing and broadened my cultural horizons. I love getting to know families and sharing the year’s experiences with them. Finding just the right student for a family brings a lot of joy and then having that family ask me to help them choose their next student is a lot of fun. At the same time, I have seen students grow and mature throughout the year, gaining a self confidence and awareness that will follow them throughout life.

On my kitchen wall are the handprints of many exchange students. Each one is precious to me and carries memories of those kids.

The latest addition to my wall is Aleksandar Radovanovic from Montenegro. I find all the kids enjoy my little collection . We also enjoy going on little field trips together such as going to Boston for a day. 

Kris Matthieu