Jump to content

Menu

We really are Ugly Americans


Recommended Posts

The exchange students that were here for Thanksgiving were so sweet. They came Wednesday night, made a gingerbread house, danced, sang, decorated the tree.

 

Thursday we had a feast. One of the girls mentioned her "host" family in the college town had only done something with her once. She said she really appreciated coming to the ranch to visit.

 

It seems like there are so many students who want to learn about America and our families and they are just ignored. Sad to me.

 

I wish we could have brought a whole busload here for the holidays.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The exchange students that were here for Thanksgiving were so sweet. They came Wednesday night, made a gingerbread house, danced, sang, decorated the tree.

 

Thursday we had a feast. One of the girls mentioned her "host" family in the college town had only done something with her once. She said she really appreciated coming to the ranch to visit.

 

It seems like there are so many students who want to learn about America and our families and they are just ignored. Sad to me.

 

I wish we could have brought a whole busload here for the holidays.

 

How did you come about hosting an exchange student? How long did they stay? Sounds like they had a great experience.

 

Lisa

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're not official hosts, more like adopted family. Oldest dd attends classes at a college an hour from here, and she met a Chinese girl in one of her classes. She invited her home for a visit, she brought a friend with her, next time she brought two friends............and on and on.

 

They come every three or so weeks for a day or overnight stay. They are mostly Chinese, but we have a few other countries represented too!

 

Dd can only bring home as many that will fit in our van!

 

Dd has mentioned that the exchange students are eager to meet people and be friendly. The locals are just..............uninterested.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds wonderful. This has been on my mind, particularly since my dd is applying to NSLI-Y. All I can think of is what I can't offer; I feel like we're such a quirky family (but who isn't?), I don't have an extra room (can build one in basement or wait until one of mine moves out). How would we entertain them? Could we live up to their expectations? Could we afford it (you mean I wouldn't be able to take them everywhere I'd want to??)? What would my husband think? (Hm, maybe I should ask him.) We barely entertain friends; wouldn't some other kid be bored to tears?

 

Talk me up here while I start praying for doors to open if this is a possibility down the road . . .

 

They just seem to have fun talking and being in our home. It's all new to them. Some of the girls love to watch me cook. They want to learn all about American food. Christian traditions interest them. Lots of questions about homeschooling.

 

We have three kid bedrooms, we kicked our sons out of theirs for the night, they slept on sofas in the den and we filled the bedrooms up with girls. A couple of them slept on the floor with lots of padding and blankets.

 

One day when they came they all went to the grocery store first and bought ingredients to cook us a Chinese dinner. Dd drove them there and we paid for whatever they needed. That was a blast, lots of squealing in the kitchen while they were cooking.

 

The next time they came I cooked my version of Chinese. We've had a bonfire and s'mores night. We've just hiked around outside. Lots of simple stuff.

 

Our church used to be involved in a Christmas hosting program for Japanese students. They would come over the holidays and stay for three weeks. That was always fun too, to have them here over Christmas.

 

I imagine we'll have our Asian girls here sometime over Christmas too, our oldest ds and dil will be here at some point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We work with a local college and their Chinese students. Most of these students are here for 3 years and >80% leave without ever setting foot in an American home or get to know an American family. We hope to change that. Not because we have anything so great to offer but because they are great people to get to know. But honestly, most people don't know the possibility exists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Talk me up here while I start praying for doors to open if this is a possibility down the road . . .

 

From the limited experiences, I have living in a university town.......

 

*encourage your dd to become friends and invite them home. That is the easy route to bring someone home once in a while on a major holiday.

 

*my dh worked at the university and had plenty of international graduate students. the department boss like to host parties at his house.

 

usually it is the friend to friend approach that happens. We're already friends and co workers, come over to my house.

 

but... there are ways where you don't have that foot in the door.

prior to your own child being there....

 

*ask the University Housing if there are ways that locals can offer their homes for those short breaks. Go and talk to the Housing department and see how to get involved to help. It will vary from college to college.

 

*are you involved with a local church? Sometimes there are "parachurch" groups on college campuses that you can be part of. They will know students who need a ride or a place to stay during fall break, or other holidays. Those parachurch groups like to work through local congregations.

 

*there may be non religious campus groups as well that help locals get involved.

 

*When I was in college and involved with some of those parachurch groups, the things we did for international students were as simple as "playing board games" and going to IHop equivalent. It was anything to just be off campus and just do non student stuff. go to a movie (it can be the old run cheap place), or stay at home and play Apples to Apples, or Sequence.

 

 

From the side of "I was once a college student in another country for a summer semsester....."

*it was just nice to be in a house and not in the dorm

*I enjoyed that family's normal cooking

It was never fancy and was just family.

The way I got to meet that family? The daughter was about my age and was looking for pen pal in America. My Italian professor was the one who somehow had her information. Turns out this young lady was in the same city where our summer program was being held. I wrote back.

 

 

Keep praying. :grouphug: it's good stuff to do.

 

(edit to add: "But honestly, most people don't know the possibility exists. " I agree.)

 

-crystal

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what a gift to the girls and the host families! we hosted a soccer coach which was only for a week, and even so were grateful for the time he was invited somewhere else. he was great.... there are just stresses to having someone who is not family living with you full time, and we all had a much nicer time together after a break :001_smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I forgot to tell what seems to be a huge draw for the students.........our pets! It is so funny the way they want to touch, pet, interact with the animals. The cats fascinate them. It's beyond words.

 

When they found out one of the dogs has cancer they were really touched. The kids told me later they were close to tears.

 

They went with me to the chicken house to see the baby chicks and told them "Happy Thanksgiving". Cracked me up.

 

And they think the white horses are romantic, because Princes ride them and live happily ever after.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, that's really sweet! I might have to look in to that too. We live in a town with a HUGE university and thousands of students whose families are far away.

 

I remember being 1500 miles from my family for college and not able to travel home each holiday. I was fortunately to have my mom's step sister and her family willing to host me. It was lonely and I wish they had had kids my age that would have made it a little more comfortable. But still, way better than being stuck in a deserted dorm over a holiday or long weekend!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really dislike the title of this thread. I love our exchange student. He is a sweet boy that I have had to parent way more than I thought I would.

 

Not all exchange students want to learn about America, some are made to come here by their family. I am hugely involved in our exchange program here. A lot of the kids I am dealing with are privileged and wealthy. Would my visiting son lie about me to someone just to get extra attention? Yes, he would. :(

 

Don't believe everything you hear, and that is all I will say.

Edited by True Blue
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I teach ESL to adults at our church. One of the reasons I started teaching is that I was looking for a Chinese tutor for my kids several years ago and realized that, although I am surrounded by native Chinese speakers in my Atlanta suburb, I did not know a single one of them well enough to ask for a recommendation for a tutor. I was horrified by this realization and actively looked for an avenue into the international community.

 

I think it is so imporant that the international students who come to the U.S., when they go back to be the movers and shakers in their home countries, are able to say, "Americans were nice to me. No matter what you hear in the news, Americans invited me into their homes, with no agenda, and for no other reason other than to make me welcome in their country."

 

I feel the same about non-student immigrants, legal or illegal, and I am sure that I have both in my class. Regardless of how I feel that the government should deal with immigration, I, in my individual capacity, cannot and should not enforce immigration laws. It is my duty as a Christian to show love and compassion to the immigrant community. I love teaching my class; I love hearing about their home countries and families and traditions; and I love that I now have friends from all over the world. My life is richer for it.

 

Terri

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I teach ESL to adults at our church. One of the reasons I started teaching is that I was looking for a Chinese tutor for my kids several years ago and realized that, although I am surrounded by native Chinese speakers in my Atlanta suburb, I did not know a single one of them well enough to ask for a recommendation for a tutor. I was horrified by this realization and actively looked for an avenue into the international community.

 

I think it is so imporant that the international students who come to the U.S., when they go back to be the movers and shakers in their home countries, are able to say, "Americans were nice to me. No matter what you hear in the news, Americans invited me into their homes, with no agenda, and for no other reason other than to make me welcome in their country."

 

I feel the same about non-student immigrants, legal or illegal, and I am sure that I have both in my class. Regardless of how I feel that the government should deal with immigration, I, in my individual capacity, cannot and should not enforce immigration laws. It is my duty as a Christian to show love and compassion to the immigrant community. I love teaching my class; I love hearing about their home countries and families and traditions; and I love that I now have friends from all over the world. My life is richer for it.

 

Terri

 

Yes, I have learned so much. Exchange students love sharing their lives, culture, and food with us. I like to look things up about my exchange student's culture, and talk to him about it. He is always so surprised I am interested, and loves to talk about it. He loves his country, and misses it. I want him to grow to love America, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What does that say about American families?[/QUOT

 

Like I said, we're Ugly Americans.

 

Some maybe...but it's not easy to imagine asking a student to come over when there is a known language barrier. Many foreign students seem unapproachable for many reasons and most Americans haven't been alone in a foreign country to grasp that it's the simple things that the students want to see. Until we were in China and I realized how excited I was to look around their "7-11" I thought I'd need a fancy house to see or cool events to take them to. In China, I wanted to see the traditional homes and just be with a real family going grocery shopping. The fancy stuff didn't impress me. But...I had that experience to draw on with the students. I knew what held us up in spoken English, we could use written English.

Instead of assuming nobody wants to do it (Americans) invite 1 or 2 along that thinks its cool you did it....then they will have experience to draw on. That's how our volunteers have come about. We didn't even get a student/visiting professor for thanksgiving because all our new volunteers got 'em!! A great thing!

And our program doesn't involve having folks live or stay at our homes (though a few have when the family has something)...we just ask our volunteers to make a connection once a month or so. Have them for dinner, a ball game, a Wii game night, whatever. They love cooking for us! They adore our girls.

Many times we just contact our Chinese liaison and say "hey see if any students want to come watch the ballet dress rehearsal." and we take whoever is interested.

If you have a local college and they have international students they should have a liaison. So and so over international students.

But talk it up with friends or whoever will listen. I promise there are willing Americans out there who just have no clue what to do if hosting for 9 months isn't an option. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's part ignorance and part fear.

 

Ignorance b/c ppl just don't know there's a need to be met.

 

Fear, b/c you're talking about inviting complete strangers into your home. Yes, they're exchange students, but it's a daunting thing to contemplate inviting a stranger, sight unseen, into your sanctuary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really dislike the title of this thread. I love our exchange student. He is a sweet boy that I have had to parent way more than I thought I would.

 

Not all exchange students want to learn about America, some are made to come here by their family. I am hugely involved in our exchange program here. A lot of the kids I am dealing with are privileged and wealthy. Would my visiting son lie about me to someone just to get extra attention? Yes, he would. :(

 

Don't believe everything you hear, and that is all I will say.

 

Excuse me?? Don't think for one minute that any of these girls have said one bad word about anyone here. I am basing my title on what I see. Mainly students who don't give a **** about anyone outside their own little circle or who can advance them socially.

 

**** right we're ugly Americans, like the title or not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quite frankly, I'm EMBARRASSED to be an American right now. If I see one more fool making a scene on Black Friday in the news, I'm going to ban the tv usage. What fools. Pepper spray? SHOOTING? Arguing. Fools. Have the exchange students seen any of that?

 

That's why we need to show them how hospitable and friendly we can be to counteract what the news is showing them. We're not all fools pepper spraying others to get a cheaper TV.

 

I really dislike the title of this thread. I love our exchange student. He is a sweet boy that I have had to parent way more than I thought I would.

 

Not all exchange students want to learn about America, some are made to come here by their family. I am hugely involved in our exchange program here. A lot of the kids I am dealing with are privileged and wealthy. Would my visiting son lie about me to someone just to get extra attention? Yes, he would. :(

 

Don't believe everything you hear, and that is all I will say.

 

I have a truly lovely friend who hosted a very self-centered, ill-mannered exchange student from Germany. She was grateful when he finally went home. Our first exchange student wasn't horrible, but we didn't host again for 11 years after her visit. The boys we hosted for two weeks this summer were fun to host.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a truly lovely friend who hosted a very self-centered, ill-mannered exchange student from Germany. She was grateful when he finally went home. Our first exchange student wasn't horrible, but we didn't host again for 11 years after her visit. The boys we hosted for two weeks this summer were fun to host.

 

I wonder if the age of the exchange student makes a difference. I would imagine that a senior in high school or college age student would act much differently than a 14, 15, or 16 year old. Those are miserable ages worldwide.

 

Lesley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excuse me?? Don't think for one minute that any of these girls have said one bad word about anyone here. I am basing my title on what I see. Mainly students who don't give a **** about anyone outside their own little circle or who can advance them socially.

 

**** right we're ugly Americans, like the title or not.

 

Okay, I don't see how jumping into anger like this makes you any less ugly, Remudamom. :confused:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps the countries make a difference? We've hosted perhaps 15 Asian students in one form or another and have never encountered any rudeness at all.

 

Well, we've had problems in the school with the Koreans not wanting to hang out with anyone that is not Korean, and bullying other Koreans that won't bow to the groups demands.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Add me to the people who dislike the title and negative attitude of this thread.

 

I think it's wonderful that you are opening your home for these folks.

 

Exchange students are just like everyone else. Human. I've been a sponsor to some who wanted nothing to do with hanging out with Americans. On the other hand, I've had various foreign students living in my home. It's usually nice for all involved, but it doesn't make me better or "less ugly" than others.

 

On the other hand, when I was in China, nobody invited me home or anywhere else. I got mostly suspicious and unfriendly looks from people. So no, I don't think Americans are particularly "ugly" as humans go. That's kind of an ugly sentiment, in my opinion. Especially when it really means "Americans other than me are ugly."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tease my husband and call him my pet German. (Hopefully ppl have a sense of humor here...I truly mean it in a nice way!)

 

I guess I don't quite understand this thread. Is this about being open to meeting people from other places? I've had many of these opportunities.

 

Not all Americans are ugly and not all people from other places are pretty. Really, people are people.

 

Thank you. I think that is what was bothering me about this thread. Huge sweeping generalization almost always miss the mark.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been on the other side. The cute pet foreigner. That's not always so great. It kinda made me feel stupid sometimes.

 

You are right. It can be very hard to not offend when someone is from a different culture, and there is a language barrier. I talk to my kiddo a lot about how we are trying very hard, and will miss the mark sometimes.

 

I do love my student. He is a sweetie. Yes, he's had problems, but he's a teenage boy, and in many ways years younger maturity wise. I am learning a ton. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gosh, I didn't see it as ugly or horrible, despite the title. Can't we take this the way that it was surely meant instead of automatically assuming the worst?

 

. . . similar to the "grandma with alzheimers drop dead issues" thread this morning.

 

Can't we :chillpill:, people?!

 

:iagree:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up in a college town with a very extroverted mother. We ALWAYS had all manner of students at our house--from coming over for lunch after church to living in a spare room of our house for a year or more. She also drove the church van and picked up many students for church on Sunday mornings, and she worked at the university so she saw countless other students during the week. She enjoyed this kind of interaction and LOVED meeting new people.

 

I think it's great that she did it because it really fit with her personality, but the thought of hosting students or frankly any strangers in my own home makes me twitchy and uncomfortable. I tolerated it growing up, because as a child and teen I really didn't have much say in the matter. But the stress that would cause me now, as an adult with my own household, would make the experience probably not very much fun for the student, and definitely would not promote harmony in my own family.

 

Does that make me an ugly American? I certainly don't believe so, but I do admit to being an American introvert with a rather large personal bubble. I love people, I appreciate other cultures, and I teach my children to do the same. I just don't want a bunch of people hanging around at my house or following me where ever I go. Perhaps those hosts mentioned by the OP who only took their exchange student on one outing were not well-suited to be a host home, as would be the case with my family.

 

Different personalities are just different--not necessarily wrong or "ugly."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you think Americans are ugly you should hear what the Koreans say about Americans and any person with dark skin in their own country -it made my skin crawl I had never heard such blatent racism.

 

Well, we've had problems in the school with the Koreans not wanting to hang out with anyone that is not Korean, and bullying other Koreans that won't bow to the groups demands.

 

I lived near the American army base in Inchon - I met MANY Americans who rarely left the base - had never eaten Korean food - would not interact with the locals and only went out in groups of their American friends to do a little shopping. I'd say it's common to stick with what you know no matter what culture you are in.

 

FWIW - when I lived in Korea I found them to be some of the friendliest, most hospitable people on earth (despite their racist streaks :glare:). We got invited to people's homes a lot - we even got invited to a wedding. If you are open and friendly they will invite you. Unfortunately a lot of foreigners we met in Korea are very closed off and prickly - naturally they weren't invited anywhere because they made the Koreans feel nervous - often these people were invited anyway for acted very offensive and rude (you just don't go to a Korean persons house and refuse to take off your shoes to make a point that "I"m not Korean so I don't have to" KWIM.

 

Asians would never be rude in someone elses house - the concept is foreign to them - so invite them over and have fun :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gosh, I didn't see it as ugly or horrible, despite the title. Can't we take this the way that it was surely meant instead of automatically assuming the worst?

 

. . . similar to the "grandma with alzheimers drop dead issues" thread this morning.

 

Can't we :chillpill:, people?!

 

I think the difference here is that in the drop dead thread, the OP commented in the thread clarifying that she did not mean what the thread title implied. In this thread, the OP has commented and confirmed that she means exactly what her title says.

 

I tease my husband and call him my pet German. (Hopefully ppl have a sense of humor here...I truly mean it in a nice way!)

 

I guess I don't quite understand this thread. Is this about being open to meeting people from other places? I've had many of these opportunities.

 

Not all Americans are ugly and not all people from other places are pretty. Really, people are people.

 

While I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment that more folks should open up their homes and hearts to strangers, I strongly disagree that Americans in general are just UGLY. I know too many Americans that tirelessly work for the well being of others, often behind the scenes, without expecting or demanding any commendation for it.

 

When I was a teenager, my grandmother decided to host an exchange student for the school year. She was the same age as I, and we lived across the street, so I was really looking forward to getting to know her and to befriending her and my entire family looked forward to introducing her to our way of life and family traditions throughout the year. Sadly, she turned out to be incredibly rude and uninterested in participating in family life at all. She befriended another exchange student at our school and spent all her months here with her and looking down her nose at we common folk. She refused to respect the rules of the house (which were really quite lenient) and made it clear she was only here to party and play. She was also very vocal about her disappointment in ending up in a small town, rather than a big, urban area. It was a really demoralizing experience, but even then I knew it had nothing to do with her country of origin, but just that she herself was a haughty brat with a sense of entitlement. I purposely have not mentioned what country she came from, because she was not an Ugly ******, she was an ugly person. In fact, the following year, I had another very dear friend in school who was an exchange student from the same country, and he was gracious and kind.

 

Nevertheless, I am more inspired to seek out folks who are in need of a friend or friendly companionship. Surely we can all get caught up in our daily lives sometimes and forget to look around for those who are less fortunate or who are strangers in a strange land.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live near a University and our church has a program to match foreign students with local families. They have many activities including shopping trips, picnics, hikes, parties and even "talk to an American" where students can come to a room on campus to practice their English with Americans. Several of my friends are involved and treat the students like part of the family. They do make a point of saying that most international students never see the inside of an American home if someone doesn't invite them!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love this type of stuff. I think it is a great alternative to hosting a student for a semester or year as you can handle just about anything for a few days at a time and if it doesn't work out, they don't have to come back.

 

We had students from Germany and Belgium here for a few summers when they were touring with a music group. They came for 3-5 days and that was fun. What was really funny though was when the kids from Germany were talking and assumed we didnt' know what they were saying but just before they left dh answered them in German and they were SHOCKED. Guess not too many Native Americans speak German.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What?

 

I could just as easily say the same thing about the exchange student our friend recently had. This girl took off and found alternate arrangements (blatantly breaking the rules of the company she went through) within two weeks because she didn't like that the host family discouraged her partying, drinking, etc. She was mad that they didn't want her to "have a good time."

 

You don't see me saying, "Those people are really ugly...."

 

People are people. Some behave better than others.

 

I'm not buying into the current fad of self-loathing so common among some Americans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"We" are not ugly Americans. Speak for yourself, please.

 

I am proud of my family, my friends, and my country.

 

I am proud that Americans give a higher percentage of our income to charities and foreign aid than any other country in the world. That's not ugly, that's beautiful.

 

I am proud of every American who has fought and died to help foreign nations that "ugly Americans" supposedly loathe.

 

Of course I am ashamed of anyone who represents our nation poorly, but their behavior does not make me ugly. I'm with Daisy. All the self-loathing is making me ill.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My understanding is that about 85% of international students will not set foot in an American home during their time in the States. I think educating others about this fact and helping others to see how easy it can be to work with internationals will help to change this statistic. Personally, I think it's really sad that so many students aren't getting into American homes!

 

We love working with international students. Many will return to be leaders in their own countries. I can't think of a better way to help foreign policy than to create a mutual love and appreciation for each others countries and cultures. Plus, it can offer a nice change of pace. Most of my friends are pretty similar to me. There's nothing like a few friends from across the globe to get me out of the bubble I exist in!

 

For those of you following this thread that aren't ready to jump on board with inviting people into your own home... I have another suggestion. Many university English programs need "language partners" for students. You can meet with someone and talk for an hour on campus or at a coffee shop. It's a good way to ease into things. Sometimes they will even give you discussion topics so you don't even have to worry about how to make conversation.

 

If you are interested, I would definitely contact your local university. They probably have opportunities if you are interested!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Apparently no one even knows to what I am referring. I give up. Have at it.

 

You haven't really explained. Have you asked other people to participate and they were uninterested? Do you know internationals who have approached Americans and have been rebuffed?

 

You posted a pretty incendiary title and then a post with no real explanation except to describe what a nice time you provided your students. I don't think people knew how to take this, or what your point was.

 

I'm so glad you're following your calling to extend hospitality to international students. I think we need to be careful not to judge others who have a different calling. I may be called to adopt, or feed the homeless, or tutor the disadvantaged, or host internationals... but I am not called to judge and berate those who don't do all those things. Right? I think it's a beautiful thing that Americans are free to express their love for others in a variety of different ways.

 

ETA: We happen to host internationals ourselves. So I get it. I'm just saying, you weren't clear, and instead of being motivating, your tone was condemning. No one is really prompted to heartfelt action via a guilt trip.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...