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.

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!

Exchange Students Learn to Think In Another Language

“Acclamation” is a word you hear quite frequently in foreign exchange student programs. Acclimating to a new culture, new surroundings, and a new family seem, on the surface, to be the greatest challenges that face exchange students when their respective programs begin. But acclimation goes beyond the surface components of change. How a student dresses, what a student eats, and the behaviors a student learns to adopt are cursory examples of acclimation when compared to the changes that take place in the mind. Things like language development and the adaptation to values and customs are often overlooked, but matter most when it comes to a student’s success on a cultural exchange program. Without the power to communicate clearly and understand the way a society works, cultural exchange would be impossible.

With that in mind, consider the monumental amount of work that each student must undertake in order to successfully adjust to his or her new home. If we stop to appreciate the difficulty in accessing the language and customs in a foreign nation, the following example is all the more amazing.

Recently, two students in the Gemstone Region (northern Midwest) related what it was like to learn to think in another language. Nicholas Teughels from Belgium and Robert Carillo from Mexico both attend school in South Dakota, and recently confessed to writer David Brown that learning to think in another language was difficult, but comes naturally now that they hear the language on a daily basis.

“Here,” said Carillo, “I listen to everything in English. I just see English. I just talk English…[in Mexico] I used to watch movies in English with Spanish subtitles…to learn the words.”

Although classes in English and immersion in the language are a part of the program, it often takes several weeks for students to really become accustomed to using the language on such a frequent basis, and sometimes as long as a month before students start to think in English.

After several weeks in South Dakota, Teughels found it much easier to understand the people around him and the classes he was in than it was when he first arrived. “Now,” said Teughels, “I’m dreaming in English, I’m doing everything in English. And sometimes, when I speak to my family or friends, I don’t find my words in French.”

The transition is one that most students need help and support with, as most former host families will tell you. But within a short time each student has made his or adjustment and become a part of the community in which they live and study. By the time they go, the process has to start all over again, as each and every student must at some point readjust to a language and a culture that they left behind for many months.

So when you see a foreign exchange student, remember that he or she has a lot of acclimating to do, and that a helpful correction or a friendly gesture can go a long way. We wish all of our fall students luck, and successful and healthy transition into winter.

Strategies: Set Up a Booth To Bolster Your Placements

BoothPhotoThe finish line grows closer by the day. In two weeks the season for August placements will be over, and we will be turning our sights toward January and the next wave of students. But before the season closes the headquarters thought it might be helpful to impart some tried and true wisdom on the field. So in the interest of making the most out of your regions, how about a little friendly advice from the north, where School Lunch Hour Booths have become one of the most successful paths to quality placements since the telethon and word-of-mouth advertising.

Our dear friend Rose Hawkins was nice enough to share her strategy with us, and her methods, as she told me earlier today, account for at least a third of the eighty or more placements made by her and her team each year. Her recommendation is that you follow these simple steps:

     1) Contact Your Schools: Establish contact with your schools by finding the first interested family and using their interest to generate more, or simply call and make an appointment to speak with a responsible administrator. Explain who you are and what you do, and then ask if it would be possible to set up an information booth during school lunch hours in which you can display information, hand out pamphlets , and take down the information of any students that want to participate in the program. Many schools will ask that at your booth you include information about ISE’s Outbound Program, and that is just fine, but make sure that you have plenty of supplies and information about the international students as well. By reaching out to the student body in your local high schools, you can find many wonderful families that would love an opportunity for their children to experience a foreign culture.

2)      Use Pictures, Pamphlets, and Plenty of Color: When setting up your booth, use colorful ads and distribute materials that will catch the eye. Your materials are in our office and ready for distribution, and each piece has all the information needed for setting up a placement. Make your booth look fun and use a lot of positive energy. People will respond if they know you are passionate about what you do.

3)      Be Positive, Not Pushy: Remember, you are at the school as a representative of a company that holds education and world peace above all other aspects. You want to show the students in your area that cultural experience and the promise of education is what draws the international community towards this program. Give out as much information as you can, but don’t demand access to the families and friends in your community.  If they know you are there, and they know what you do, they will see your booth and come to you.

4)      Try Alternatives: While most managers will swear by the lunch hour, try to set up during an event as well. Watch the school calendar for a conference night, sporting event, student social event, or Meet the Teacher night. Always ask permission before bring in your supplies, but you may be surprised at the positive response you get from a booth as opposed to cold-calling and passive flyers.

If you would like more information on setting up an information booth or if you think you have a great idea for a booth session and want some advice, do not hesitate to contact your program manager or facilitator at the headquarters. We are standing by ready to help you and we want to see you succeed. All it takes is a chance to generate interest, and you can have the most successful year you have ever seen.

ISE’s Honorable Students: We Could Not Have Done It Without You

The 11/12 school year is quickly reaching its conclusion, which for ISE means that our outstanding body of students will be returning to their home countries and reuniting with their friends and natural families. As host families all over the country are packing the car and preparing to take their foreign sons and daughters to the airport, they are looking back at the previous year and thinking about how different their lives will be now that they have had these experiences. It is a simple statement, but once you host a student your life is forever changed for the better. You possess a deeper and richer understanding, the world gets a little bit smaller, and the places and people that seemed so foreign are now a part of your life as you make your way into the global community.

Some host parents come to realize early on that the students who volunteer for this program are exceptional people, both academically and socially. They are people who give back to their community, who strive for excellence in everything they do, and who respect cultural diversity. They come to the US for a chance to broaden their horizons and enrich their lives, and that would not be possible without the families across the country who open their doors and hearts and are rewarded in ways that transcend words and description.

For all of you families out there who hosted this year, and shared with us your wonderful stories about your students’ achievements, we at ISE would like to honor you and these young people without whom this program would never be possible. The following is a list of students who have gone above and beyond the expectations of their families and the program we offer, who have achieved a significant academic honor and chose to share that with us. If this student is your son or daughter, we offer congratulations to you and yours. You have raised an exceptional human being and rewarded our program with their presence. And if you hosted one of these students, thank you for giving these young people the opportunity to study, strive, and excel.

ISE wishes you all a safe a pleasant summer with your families and loved ones. Please keep sharing your stories with us!

All students included below have achieved honors or high honors at their local school and participated in Project Help. Well done and safe home!

Thanaporn Suthinoparatanakul

Natalja Girod

Yuguo Zhang

Dung Quach

Julia Franchi

Tu Nguyen

Young Hyun Jung

Hyeokjae Lee

Jingwen Hua

Yao Han

Yufei Hou

Sigi Zhang

Thais Soranzo

Fanny Michaux

Xiangjia Sang

Carolina Hagman

Natalia Ganevskaya

Katharina Deisenroth

Jan Pitella

Andrea Moreno

Lydia Eicher

Mercedes Perez

Ratchanon Deesrisak

Hongying Wu

Chenyeng Mo

Nhi Quach

Tamires Oliveira

Jana Wicki

Maria Ruvalcaba

Katnaphat Asadamongkolpant

Stine Johannessen

Giovanna Pegorer

Yungi Yang

Laetitia Bolte

Hana Boldisova

Katharina Weber

Julia Isabella Pucher

Tadeus Krejci

Natalija Krsaojevic

Dhanabhat Medhanvikul

Michal Baugartner

Xinyi “Sherry” Zhao

Kanokphan “Poy” Sudprasert

Yizhou “Bessie” Yang

Giang Pham

Josephine Hearthe

Svenja Beer

Jannik Kessens

Cesare Rey

Thanh “Barbara” Nguyen

Andrea Jaramillo

Lene Schioetz

Thi Khanh Nguyen

Mandy Lukie

Arturo Rios

Linh Tran

Yifan Wang

Julia Mengehel

Paulina Vargas of Mexico Named Prom Queen at New Castle High

Mexican exchange student Paulina Vargas Sobrado was recently named this year’s prom queen at New Castle High School in New Castle, Indiana. As an exchange student, Vargas said that she was amazed to be given the title. She also said that she received several pleasant calls from excited family members back in Mexico for explanations of the title’s meaning, as they do not generally elect “kings” and “queens” of the prom in her Mexican hometown.


Lyndsey Davis, Paulina’s Economics teacher at New Castle High, was happy to see Paulina bestowed such a tremendous honor, and is quoted stating that in league with this regal accomplishment, Pauline is also an exceptional student, one that has achieved much and made positive relationships at their school.

“Pauline has really immersed herself in our culture,” says Davis. “She made the tennis team, does excellent work in school, and in our economics class she is able to offer dynamic perspectives into the differences between the American and Mexican economic systems.” When asked about Paulina’s relationship with the faculty and students at New Castle, Davis responded by saying, “Paulina is one of the most popular students. She is very well liked. Everyone knows Paulina. She is really a topnotch student.”


Paulina will only be with us for another few short weeks, but it is clear that Paulina has made the absolute most of her time here, and we will be sad to see her go. Congratulations Paulina! We wish you safe trip home and much success in your bright future.


Warm Wishes from Your Humble Blogger: ISE in the New Year

One year has ended and another begins. At such an interstitial time of year it seems dually appropriate both to recollect and to imagine, to leaf through the memories, looking back on what has been accomplished, while simultaneously looking at the days ahead and wondering what the coming year has in store for us.


In retrospect we have the student accomplishments, family bonds, academic achievements and friendships made in the past twelve months, and before us we have an exciting influx of new minds and personalities, new events and occasions, new surprises and expectations. I can only speculate what lies ahead, but if this upcoming year is to be anything like the one that has just come to a close we can all prepare to be continually amazed at what student exchange offers and what it produces when students and families are brought together.


Though I am relatively new at ISE, your humble editor has seen some amazing sights in the past few months. I have seen students come to this country and flourish academically. I have seen young people who make their countries proud, and honor ours with their achievements. I have seen young people adapt, grow, learn, and become involved. And I have seen them leave, hearts a bit heavy, eyes a bit misty, knowing that they leave a bit of themselves here and that their families send a bit of themselves along.


I have seen our Regional Coordinators, Managers and Representatives, who work around the clock to attend to our students, come together to share tips and stories, all of whom have said goodbye to at least one student with whom they will never lose contact. I have even seen their children working up the courage to say goodbye to their new brother or sister, knowing full well that they will meet again, but each unsure as when or how it will be.

In our collective future I see the continuation of an ever reaching presence in the global community. I see students and teachers and parents and friends who understand the value of cultural and academic exchange and the present and future possibilities of one day reaching our goal of global understanding and world peace. I see people who refuse to sit idly by as others go hungry, or make war with one another, or refuse empathy.


And through all this International Student Exchange believe we can make tomorrow a little bit better for the generations to come. Each great movement starts with a single idea, a small step, and a commitment. If you have hosted before, our global network thanks you. If you are interested, do not hesitate to contact us and find out how you can be a host family for a student that wishes to see America and everything our country has to offer. And if you are a student, the world is waiting to hear what you have to say.


We at ISE wish everyone a safe, happy,and healthy New Year, all the best to your families, friends and students, and hope for a better future through global unity.