Student Departures: ISE Students Begin to Head for Home

Over the course of the next few weeks, the majority of International Student Exchange’s students will be departing for home. After living in the U.S. for five or ten months they are eager to return to their families and friends but the bonds that students and families form are impossible to forget. As wonderful as it feels to be welcomed home, leaving behind the experience of living abroad is no easy task.


If you are an exchange student, your host family members become your mother, father, sisters and brothers, and the day-to-day family life becomes the most important part of the exchange program, because this is the point at which cultures and ideas truly intersect.


As a student, it is expected that you will share your life and culture with the family in which you are placed, and as a host family, it is expected that you will introduce the student to your community and the special brand of cultural immersion that only your family can offer. And if both parties are willing to learn from one another, the result is often a tearful, albeit positive, goodbye when the program comes to an end.


This year ISE has been gratefully bestowed the honor of having a tremendously accomplished set of students, whose achievements have made it possible for more and more students to find homes in the U.S. than ever before. And now that they are beginning their respective journeys home, host families can really see how much the program has changed their lives and enriched their relationships.


But the perspective gained from the program is the type that lasts long after a student departs. The greatest accomplishment is when you realize that the world may not be as big as you thought. With each year that goes by we are bringing the different nations of the world closer and closer together. By finding common ground between these cultures we may one day find a way to peacefully coexist, and ultimately bring understanding to a global scale. With each family and student that participates these goals come closer and closer.


Graduation Season Underway: International Student Exchange Celebrates Student Achievements

For many American families, one of the most rewarding aspects of the International Student Exchange’s J-1 program is being able to assist a student with big dreams realize his or her goals. Providing opportunities, offering guidance, and being there for the important milestones in a foreign son or daughter’s life is what draws people to the J-1 program, and the reward of watching that son or daughter succeed is what inspires these families to continue hosting year after year.


At no time is this more important or relevant than during graduation season, a traditional American epoch that brings families, communities and educators together in celebration. It is a time for commendation, recollection, and togetherness, and a proud moment in any parent’s life. Without undermining the achievements of our American students, what sets the exchange program apart is the journey undertaken by the parents and students who participate. Imagine the stories that will be shared once the student returns home to tell his or her friends and family about all the wonderful things that were experienced while living in the U.S., and imagine the happy memories that will be shared by the hosts that made it possible.GraduationPhoto123

In this year alone, International Student Exchange has seen students inducted into the National Honor Society, has helped students contribute thousands upon thousands of service hours to their respective communities, and has has witnessed students advance the cultural capital of our nation by providing insight into the ways that the differing nations of the world live, work, and learn. These efforts not only advance diplomacy and the image of the U.S. in the international community, they prove a immutable fact of human existence: we want to learn from one another, we want to help as many people as we can, and we want peace in our lifetimes for all nations of the world.

Departure may loom in the foreseeable future, but the families and students of ISE are in high spirits, sharing their stories, enjoying their time together, and planning for a future where each will be a part of the other’s life. With each student who takes that promising walk through commencement, who works to achieve his or her academic goals, and who brings a eclectic and engaging culture to the classroom, America becomes a stronger nation.